According to an NPR Report, each year more than 60,000 High School Athletes sustain a concussion. Of course, those are the one's that are reported. Often times, players will not say anything to their coaches for fear of losing their position. So what the exact number is, is hard to calculate. There are also different levels of resources when it comes to High School Sports. More affluent communities have multiple coaches and trainers. But what about the less affluent areas all around the country? Let's face it, there are probably a lot of programs without the necessary staff to properly tend to the needs of all its athletes. That, however, is not to say that they don't care - it is just that they must rely on their student-athlete to be forthright and tell them of their injuries.
Even though concussions temporarily affects brain function, it may or may not cause unconsciousness. So spotting them can be a challenge at times, especially when there is no immediate indication of an injury. Naturally that makes it tougher to ascertain if there is an immediate need to pull a player from the field of play because concussions just don't occur on those "bone-crushing" plays that results in a stoppage of play. The fact is concussions can, and do, occur in less violent situations.
Concussions aren't limited nor are they gender biased. They aren't limited to just male football players who routinely get them, either. Concussions occur in male and female athletes involved in sports like soccer, wrestling, basketball, baseball and even volleyball. Sadly, many of these athletes never get an evaluation that would reveal their injury. And programs that do have "sideline evaluation tests" can't always catch if a player has sustained a concussion or not.
The IHSA, and other high school associations, have mandated concussion protocols that coaches must follow. This is done in an effort to limit serious injury. But, again, if the sideline evaluations are unable to detect them right away, then what good will it do? I suppose the only way we can get a handle on it is to make sure that there is a greater emphasis made in educating our student-athletes on what the warning signs of concussions are and keep reinforcing it.
Nausea, Vomiting, Confusion, Vision Disturbance, Unsteadiness, Loss of Balance and the Inability to Remember what happened just before, or after the injury are all signs of a concussion. However, there are many instances of post-concussion syndrome where individuals may still have poor memory and concentration, headache, fatigue, ringing in the ears or dizziness for several weeks or months afterwards. We must realize that sometimes the injured athlete may not even be aware of their "fuzzy thinking," so it is vitally important for parents, teachers, friends and teammates to get in the habit of looking for "out of the normal" behavior. When our student-athletes are on the field, whether it be game day or practice, it is imperative that the coaching staff remain vigilant. Especially if one of their players has already suffered a prior concussion.
I know it sounds simplistic, but it can help just the same. As I said earlier, athletes sometimes don't want to reveal that there may be something wrong for fear of losing their spot. Never the less, it is important to be upfront about any and all injuries. Especially head injuries!
An unreported concussion can lead to greater injury down the line and the alternatives just aren't worth it.
So, as we get ready for another season of fall sports - I am urging everyone to be more vigilant. Remember, there is no such thing as equipment that can prevent a head injury. There are, however, equipment and devices that can help minimize the likelihood of greater injury and they should be worn properly. Still, nothing can prevent a concussion. They happen!
Please play safe and pay attention this season!
Tags: CDC Heads Up Concussions In Youth Sports Tool Kit, Concussions, Health, High School Football, High School Sports, News and Opinion, Sports, Sports Injuries, Sports News, Youth Football, Youth Sports