Sports Concussions No Joking Matter, they need to be taken seriously

Concussions in sports have become a fact of life and a real hot-button issue at all levels of the sports world. A lot of research has been conducted on the subject to get a better understanding of how to make better equipment to make it safer for athletes to compete on the field of play. This is  something that needs to be taken seriously by athletes, coaches and parents because what might seem and look like a simple  blow can kill an athlete. Even hours or days after the blow happens.

A  concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a force delivered to  the head or body causing the brain to shake or rotate  in the skull violently. This injury results in the way the brain operates and functions. There is often change in personality, thinking or physical functioning of the athlete.

The Center of Decease Control estimates 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur each year. Some studies done on concussions in sports  tackle  football  this is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75% chance for concussion). While soccer is the most common sport with concussion risk for females (50% chance for concussion) some studies even suggest that females are twice as likely to sustain a concussion as male counterparts.

In 2003  Damon Jones, 16, passed away three days after suffering an injury and losing consciousness during a football game in Portville, N.Y.  His exact cause of death has not been made public. His teammates voted to end the season  two-weeks after his death. Jones’s death raised  lots of attention to the issue of concussions in sports and the media began talking about it on the national  level as it became a major topic of discussion. The Sports Concussion Institute  says 78% of concussions occur during games (as opposed to practices) on the institute website.

Jones is not the first high football player to die from a blow in a football game and he will not be the last based on history of the sport. Just Google sports concussions on the internet and you will find articles, sad stories of youths who suffered concussions while participating in sports. Although research is being conducted to try to make sports safer, for those athletes who take part each year.

Cleared To Play Organization Inc. reports on their website that 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 reported to athletic trainers.

A few of the signs trainers, coaches and parents should look for, if they suspect their athlete has a concision, is a headache (85%) and Dizziness (70-80%). These are the most commonly reported symptoms immediately following concussions for injured athletes. It is estimated that 47% of blows go unreported by athletes because of they want to stay in the game and keep playing.

A few months back the NFL was in the news because a Judge had ruled in the players favor in a long ongoing lawsuit over concussions, when a group of former players sued the league. The award handed down from the bench was 765 million and the judge thought that might have been to low of a settlement. A federal judge denied preliminary approval of a $765 million settlement of  concussion claims, fearing it may not be enough to cover 20,000 retired players. U.S. District Judge Anita B. Brody then requested more financial analysis from the parties.

Politicians in some states have introduced bills that would protect athletes who receive concussions while participating in sports activities. All but three states have strong safety laws in place on concussions in youth sports. These laws have been in place since May of 2009. All were designed and  modeled after  Washington State’s groundbreaking Zackery Lvastedt Law.

As a parent of a young athlete medical professionals say to remove the athlete immediately  from practice and games if you suspect your child has a concussion. Make sure the athlete is evaluated by a professional who has a background in concussions. Do not try to elevate the issues yourself. The athlete should not return to the sports activity until he or she is symptom free and have been cleared by a medical professional.

There is no way to completely prevent concussions but keeping equipment well maintained and checked often may help in the prevention of a serious concussion on the field of play or ice rink. The Heads UP campaign by the NFL teaches youths to tackle and block with their heads up and is good advice in helping prevent a concussion in football. So athletes play it safe out there and have a long career in sports. Parents be aware of your resources available on sports concussions and educate your athletes on concussions. Always remember that a concussion of any kind is no joking matter and not worth your child’s life.

17 thoughts on “Sports Concussions No Joking Matter, they need to be taken seriously”

  1. I agree with Chris Nowinski’s statement that it remains to be seen if it’s safe.In your link to the Concussion Blog site. I also believe that parents need full disclosure. Some of the statements being made in various media outlets about tackle football being safer than it ever was may be misleading parents (they really should have an accurate picture of the risks, which as of yet haven’t been fully identified). For children with PD or AD in the family, perhaps playing from age 5 to 18 or 22 isn’t the best idea. We also need to recognize that due to the lack of oversight, it’s up to the parent to determine if appropriate safety precautions are being followed (based on articles I read, there are night and day differences between programs).

    Concussion awareness, identification and treatment are extremely important, but once again, based on the personal accounts I’ve read, for some kids a concussion at an early age seems to set the stage for future injuries, lingering symptoms and eventual prohibition on contact sport participation (some of these kids seem to get awful medical advice as well, with some returning to play while still symptomatic). Who knows what the future will bring, but as of right now it seems as though a number of college football players have had to stop playing due to head injuries. What happens if going forward colleges are reluctant to recruit players who’ve been playing since early childhood, or who’ve participated in multiple contact sports?

    Football isn’t the only sport that’s dealing with this issue, but it does seem to be one which results in more sub-concussive hits than other sports. There’s a huge difference between wrapping a kid in bubble wrap and letting him hit his head a few hundred to a thousand times per season.

    Based on the reluctance of a number of states to even apply their concussion laws to club and league youth sports, I’m having a hard time believing that the proposed safety initiatives can be implemented across the board in a reasonable period of time. I fear there will be a number of programs that fall through the cracks, exposing some children to an amount of head trauma currently believed to be harmful.

    I happened to read an article on a flag football program which spends the last two years preparing players for the transition to full contact. Can’t help but wonder if that might be a better approach than the one currently being taken based on biomechanical and developmental concerns along with resource and other limitations.


    1. Jeff, thanks for sharing your opinions with me and my blog readers. You shared a lot of information I did not know about this issue. We need to put some kind of plan in place to make sure everything is being done to protect the athletes that face concussions due to playing a sports. But what do we put in place to make certain every sports program is following the rules to protect these kids?


  2. Great serious article on Sports Concussions. I enjoyed read your blog post and found it very educational for me while I did learn a lot about concussions by reading this post. The post does provide a lot of statistics which I know may be needed when you are trying to be home the serious of this issue but I found it a bit boring with all the stats in this post. However, over all it was a great post. I look forward to reading your future post.


  3. As much as I love sports I admit I do cringe when my kids are playing football. The fact that I am subjecting them to a possibility of a head injury scares the crap out of me. Great article, this is something I will share with the kids and have them read to get their input.


  4. Nice article. You pointed out some things that I didn’t realize and I’m sure many others haven’t either. It’s a touchy topic, but it is definitely serious business. Life or death. I hope and pray that all sports have the proper precautions to limit these concussions.


    1. Carey, sorry for the delay on your comment to my post. Yes, concussions in sports is serious business but one that must be addressed. I know concussions will never be removed from sports but maybe better equipment and coach can help prevent the number of concussions injuries and deaths each year. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post, I really appreciate it.


    1. Having a concussion is serious business. They need to do more o protect the athletes who play these sports but no sure what the best thing to do is. I guess just keep doing research and keep making equipment safe.


  5. I’ve had my share of concussions from a variety of activities. I’ve woke on a Saturday morning (in HS) after a game the night before and had no idea what day it was or what the numbers on the alarm clock meant to me at that moment. (yes, I often have Saturday mornings like that now, but that’s a whole other story). Like the last paragraph says, there is no way to avoid concussions entirety, unless of course we just do away with the sports in question. We can only try to minimize the damage through awareness and innovation.
    One thing that was mentioned above has been bothering me a bit for a couple years now. The heads-up method of tackling was taught way back when I played in high school but then it was more about not breaking your neck and winding up paralyzed. If they still feel the need to put so much focus on that particular fundamental, clearly it has not been taken seriously before now and likely still isn’t.


    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog post. You make some very good points about sports concussions. I appreciate your feedback and look forward to your future comments on my blog post.


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