As teenagers grow older, sports and recreation activities get a little rougher. There are an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sports related concussions in the United States every year. These numbers have reached an almost “epidemic level” according to the Center for Disease Control. In our school alone we have an estimated 20 concussions a year and there are probably more that still went unreported. The sports with the most concussions were football and lacrosse. A 2011 study of U.S. high schools with at least one athletic trainer on staff found that concussions accounted for nearly 15% of all sports related injuries.
A concussion is a forceful blow to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head, which causes any change in the athletes’ behavior, thinking, or physical functioning. For people ages 15 to 24 years old, sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury, behind car crashes.
16.8% of high school athletes suffering a concussion had previously suffered a sport related concussion either that season or in a previous season. Once an athlete has suffered an initial concussion his or her chances of a second one are 3 to 6 times greater than an athlete who has never had one.
With such a rise of sports related concussions there is no question that a change must be made. People are more aware of concussions and there is more research being done regarding prevention. That is why we are taking greater strides to manage concussions. We are doing things, as a school, like taking concussion tests before the seasons even start. These tests are just a baseline. They show where an athlete stands with speed, accuracy, and memory, pre-concussion. These tests do not diagnose. However they do give us a way to see when an athlete gets back to their normal state. In the end though you still need a proper diagnosis to identify a concussion and it must be based on the individuals symptoms.
Observed by Coaches
• Appear dazed of Stunned
• Is confused about assignment or position
• Forgets sports plays
• Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions slowly
• Loses consciousness
• Shows behavior or personality changes
• Can not recall events prior to or after the hit or fall
Reported by Athletes
• Headache or pressure in head
• Nausea or vomiting
• Balance problems or dizziness
• Double or blurry vision
• Sensitivity to light
• Sensitivity to noise
• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
• Concentration or memory problems
• Does not “feel right”