Concussions By: steven priscoe

"Concussions seem to get worst as time goes on, but can they be prevented better?"

Concussions, typically caused by a blow to the head or even body, occur when the brain is shaken or moved slightly within the patient’s skull, resulting in a, possibly very serious, brain injury. After a concussion occurs, a person’s brain is very sensitive to even the slightest of pressure or hit. The trauma that happens to a brain during a concussion has the potential to be life changing and, as such, it should be treated right away, or the brain can begin to swell, and permanent brain damage can occur. Symptoms of concussions can range from mild headaches, blurry vision, and nausea, to both light and sound sensitivity and severe migraines. The symptoms of a concussion can array from mild to severe, depending on what it was classified as by a doctor, and can last for days, weeks, or possibly even months. Although there are no exact, immediate treatments for concussions, most physicians will suggest a few days of rest, and then an ease back into everyday activities. Rest is essential to a person with a concussion, as it is fundamentally the main source of healing, allowing the brain, the bruising, and any swelling, to subside. The psychological response to injury is also unpredictable. The leading cause in concussions comes directly from sports, the top category being high school level sports, as ten percent of all contact sport athletes of any sort have a concussion per year.

The quick jerking of your neck and head during an impact can cause a major concussion that can have a timetable of a few days to even a month or so.

Every year in high school sports, nearly four million concussions are reported.. Plainly, one out of every five players are diagnosed with a concussion throughout one sport season. Additionally, out of these four million concussions, nearly forty- seven percent of them are a result of boy’s football games and practices, while hockey, and soccer are the other leading causes of concussion in high school sports. Unlike collegiate level sports, high school contact sports have the leading percentage of concussions, with almost twenty percent of athletes being diagnosed with at least one concussion throughout their high school career. In high schools sports, the length of recovery is much longer than those in a college or of an injury from, for example, a car accident or another cause. The athletic trainers that are required to be present in high schools take serious precautions to ensuring that an athlete is completely back to health before allowing them back to practices and games. If an athlete gets a concussion, they are forty to sixty percent more likely to get another one than an athlete who has never had one is. Even if a concussion may seem completely healed to a physician or trainer, the brain is most likely still more sensitive than usual, so another blow or hit to the head can be detrimental, especially to an athlete of such a young, developmental age. So, it is crucial that these trainers fully evaluate their players, making sure that it is completely safe for them to return back.

Coaches need to teach the proper way of tackling so less concussions occur every year. The main focus of high school sports, is to keep the players safe so they don't have long term injuries.

In collegiate level sports, nearly ten percent off all college athletes involved in a college sport are diagnosed with a concussion every school year. Although collegiate level teams have a lower percentage rate than high school teams, the rate is still very high. The NCAA over the past several years has been working directly with doctors and physicians to figure out ways to decrease the percentage of concussions in contact sport athletes. Also, they want to organize guidelines for the diagnosis and management of concussions for players, in order to ensure their health. The biggest impact that the NCAA made in their guidelines was that all student-athletes who are experiencing signs, symptoms or behaviors that may be found to be consistent with a concussion, either from a blow or hit to the head, must be removed from practice or competition and must immediately seek to an athletic trainer or team physician with experience in concussion management to ensure health. The NCAA tries very hard to continue to grow and make progress to allow their players to be in the safest hands possible while they are playing.

"The most common ways concussions happen is a vicious blow to the head that leaves the person sometimes unconscious."

In professional contact sports, the concussion rates in athletes are also growing at a very rapid pace, worrying leagues and implementing new rules. For example, in the 2015-16 NFL season, there were 271 recorded players with concussions between practices or games. For the NFL, this is a very large and rapidly growing number. Every single year, the number continues to rise, worrying the league and team owners, as players are beginning to file lawsuits against them for the brain injuries that can possibly be permanent if enough damage was caused. In the past several years, the NFL has made significant strides and efforts to make the contact sport much safer for its players, mostly aiming to lower the number of concussions per season significantly. As being involved in the most high risk contact sport, the NFL has implemented new rules in order to protect players. Some of these rules include making certain dangerous hits or plays illegal. Additionally, a strict protocol has been put into place for players with concussions. This protocol includes very strict guidelines that players must follow in order to get cleared to play. This process has been lengthened to ensure the player is in full health before returning back to play.

During football practice, this is a common drill that helps players tackle. But is it really a good drill? As shown in this picture, you can see that the player with the ball is running with his head down which is not good. This could lead to major injuries. Possibly getting paralyzed but definitely will receive a concussion.

Although there is such a high percentage rate of concussions in sports, athletes still continue to play these dangerous, physical contact games. For many athletes, sports are one of their main priorities, sometimes even over school, so no injury can hold them back. Athletes are being injured all the time, especially in contact sports, but they always get back up and return back to practicing and competing as soon as possible. Like many other injuries, once an athlete has a concussion, a recurring one is more likely to happen rather than to someone who has never had one. Concussions leave the brain more sensitive than it was before, meaning that once a player has returned to practices and games, they are more likely to receive another, more serious one with even the slightest blow or hit to the head.

Football hits can be very dangerous. Just like this one. You can see how the the player receiving the hit helmet fell off his head due to the impact of the hit.
"Some kids main priority is sports. So sports is their entire life. And one concussion could ruin their hopes and dreams."

I believe that more precautions need to be taken in, not only high school level sports but at all levels, whether amateur or professional, in order to decrease the number of concussions that occur every year. Concussions are a very serious brain injury that cannot be overlooked, so more precautions need to be taken.Surely, collegiate level teams need to ensure that their players are as fully healed as high school players are? They need to be fully evaluated to make sure that they are completely healthy enough to sustain normal level hits without being concussed, again. Although many may believe that it is excessive how long a high school athlete may be out for, it is necessary, in order to decrease the amount of recurring injuries. In order to decrease the percentage of concussions in athletes, equipment should, also, be made safer. For example, in football, helmets should be made with more protection. Additionally, many sports could create rules for games that will punish a team if they use direct, dangerous head contact. The focus needs to move from the sport to the players. They cannot continue to be treated as expendable commodities, instead they should be treated as what they are: people with their own hopes, dreams, and plans. As a society, as a sporting body, and as fans, we should not be hindering those chances for athletes, we should be enhancing them.


Created with images by Greyerbaby - "kids football games tackle"

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