By Jaelin Engle
Concussions are estimated to be the cause of around 3,000,000 sport related brain injuries per year among the ages of 15 to 24, along with being one of the most common injuries when it comes to physical activity, according to ncbi.nih.gov. A concussion can be extremely dangerous especially if the symptoms are ignored.
WCHS Athletic Trainer Sarah Rowe explained how truly threatening a concussion can be and why it is important to stay out of the game if one has a possible concussion.
“When someone takes a blow to the head with enough force (it’s less than you’d think) to cause a concussion, then several physiological changes happen. A few different levels in the brain are affected; one of these being that blood levels in the brain can drop significantly,” Rowe said.
“If someone gets hit in the head again, even if its a much softer hit, it can cause these blood levels to drop dangerously low. This can lead to something called Second Impact Syndrome. This is extremely dangerous, it has a 50 percent mortality rate. This is why it’s really important to not return to play until you are completely healed,” Rowe said.
When a student athlete or anyone has a possible concussion they need to seek medical attention right away to help prevent any more damage to the brain. Rowe discussed about some of the symptoms that may occur from a concussion.
“There are a lot of different symptoms, but some of the more common ones are: headache, dizziness, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, feeling like you’re off balance, feeling like you’re in a fog/out of it, trouble concentrating, vision problems, nausea, and feeling really tired,” Rowe said.
Concussions cause many different problems short term and long term if not dealt with properly. According to Healthcare.utah.edu, some long term symptoms of a concussion are memory problems, depression and other psychological problems, sleep problems and many more. Just for this year, Rowe has estimated that a total of about 20 student athletes have endured a concussion during their game or practice.
Concussions are a serious injury mainly because they deal with the brain, which is sensitive and controls the whole human body. Athletic director Ken Sears ranked what sports at our school are most known for receiving concussions and explained what has been done to help better protect the student athletes.
“For the longest time, football had the most concussions due to having the most physical contact, but we have made some changes in football such as new flex helmets and SG helmets which protect them slightly more,” Sears said. “We also have some padding which we wear at practices that help protect the athletes. So it is still probably football, but second now would be soccer. Soccer players don’t wear any headgear so every time there is a collision there is a pretty good chance of a concussion. We still have them in basketball and other sports, too.”
Sears went into detail about what an athletic trainer will do when on the scene of a possible brain injury.
“Our trainers will do a test called a [concussion test]; if they think it’s a possible concussion we will remove them from that game. Depending on their symptoms, before they can return to action, they have to see a doctor who has been trained and knows if the athlete has a concussion,” Sears said. “Once the doctor says they are good to go to practice, then they will go through what is called progression. This is where the trainer puts them through some test such as light jogging one day, the next day it’s a little bit more running and it takes a total of 5 days to return to practice once they are symptom free from their concussion.”
Concussions are a serious matter and should be treated as such.
If one were to get hit in the head, they should get it checked out by the athletic trainers, school nurses and especially a doctor as soon as they can. Concussions may not be preventable, but there are still ways to make sure that athletes are more protected.