Whether it’s on the field, indoors, or on the track, injuries are an unfortunate commonality in the world of sports. Sometimes, these injuries can be a relatively minor scrape or bruise, but, for those who don’t protect themselves correctly, sometimes, serious accidents may occur. A prime example of one of these serious accidents is a concussion. A concussion, which is a temporary unconsciousness or dizziness caused by a blow to the head, can occur in sports and are much more serious than many might imagine.
Neurologists all over the world have observed that concussions do not only result in temporary headaches, but also can result in traumatic after effects to the brain. According to the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, “Chronic traumatic brain injury (CTBI) represents the cumulative, long-term neurological consequences such as memory loss and cognitive deficits due to repetitive concussive and subconcussive blows to the brain.“
National Public Radio recently stated that, “Nearly all former NFL players examined in a recent study showed signs of brain damage. In recent years, football has gotten scrutiny for the long-term damage it can do to players’ bodies. The game has been linked to CTE, a disease believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head that can lead to symptoms like memory loss, depression, and confusion. It can only be diagnosed after a player dies, when docs can get a look at the brain. In this recent study, doctors checked out more than 100 brains of now-deceased NFL players and found that all except one had CTE. They also found it in people who only played football in high school or college.”
Understandably, much of the early concussion risk studies focused on professional football, a game that involves fast, full contact between players. However, current research has expanded to incorporate any type of sport involving physical contact such as soccer, hockey and lacrosse.
Heritage focuses heavily on preventing concussions, especially in physical contact sports such as football. The New York Times writes, “Teaching players how to protect themselves from direct hits are essential to their safety.”
“[The school] has great quality helmets that are up to date on checks, and they teach us not to hit with our heads,” senior John Fris said. “The blocking techniques we use do not involve hitting with our heads.”
Not only are students trained to protect themselves, but coaches and staff are also always taught how to treat students with concussions.
“All of our coaches are required to take courses on concussions, as well as pull us from practice or games if they suspect we have any pain or impairment while playing due to a head injury,” senior Zack Zambrano said.
Heritage provides readily available trained coaches and nurses, and also introduces courses in which players are made aware of the dangers of concussions. With all of the resources given to our players, concussions are much easier to prevent and treat. Although concussions are still considered frightening to the public, many players, especially football players, don’t see them as a common issue. Even armed with the knowledge of the dangers concussions pose, many sports players, especially football players, are undeterred from pursuing their passion.
“From the perspective of a football player, concussions are simply the price you pay to play the game you love,” junior Paul Yermish said. Nevertheless, all players are aware of concussions and their dangers. They do their best to avoid direct impact to the head if at all possible.