The Hidden Dangers
August 6, 2014

We hear about it all the time, but is it really necessary for your son, the star running back to sit out of the big game because of a concussion? The answer is yes, and the Athletic Trainer’s decision could have saved his life.

Concussion injury rates are typically found to range from 3% – 6% of all athletic injuries in contact/collision sports (Nebraska Sports Concussion Network (NSCN)).  In addition to this, statistics show that  once having sustained a concussion, the chances of an athlete sustaining a second concussion are four to six times greater (NSCN).  It can be difficult to see your son or daughter sitting out when you do not physically see anything wrong.  This is the danger though, a concussion, also called a traumatic brain injury (TBI), can have lifelong effects if not treated properly.  Effective July 2012, the Nebraska Concussion Awareness Act-LB260 requires any athlete 19 years old or younger reasonably suspected of having a concussion be evaluated and have written releases prior to resuming activity (NSCN).  This has aided in protecting young athletes.

Common concussion symptoms following a blow to the head or body (whiplash) or following a contact sport can include, but are not limited to headache, nausea, confusion, memory loss, dizziness, emotional changes, and more. A concussion can leave an athlete vulnerable to serious and long-standing effects, or even catastrophic injury or death if it remains unrecognized or unreported.  Teams should work together to prevent this; it is a coach’s responsibility to disqualify an athlete with symptoms, and parents and teammates should also report any symptoms of a suspected concussion to the Athletic Trainer or coach.

These hidden dangers and life-long effects are the result of Second Impact Syndrome.  This is a condition where an athlete with an unresolved concussion, returns to play and sustains additional trauma.  Usually within minutes after the added trauma, they collapse, become semi-comatose, pupils rapidly dilate, eye movement is lost, with respiratory failure and increased intracranial pressure not far away (NSCN).  This catastrophic condition carries a 50% chance of death, and a 100% likelihood of permanent neurological impairment.  So, let me ask you again, is it really necessary for your son the star running back to sit out of the big game because of a concussion?

To learn more about the serious effects of concussions and Second Impact Syndrome, watch the story of Kort as told by the New York Times:http://www.nytimes.com/video/sports/1194817092469/high-school-football-s-hidden-danger.html?scp=1&sq=high%20school%20hidden%20danger&st=cse

Stephanie Romero, LATC, MS

Sources

Nebraska Sports Concussion Network. (n.d.). Nebraska Sports Concussion Network. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from http://www.nebsportsconcussion.org/

High School Football’s Hidden Danger. (2007, September 15). . Retrieved July 29, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/video/sports/1194817092469/high-school-football-s-hidden-danger.html?scp=1&sq=high%20school%20hidden%20danger&st=cse

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