Suffering a concussion is no small matter. Unfortunately, many high school athletes have an attitude of toughing it out through the stars and the pain after being struck. This choice could be disastrous.
New research shows that those who keep on playing right after suffering a concussion instead of immediately leaving the game take almost twice as long to recover.
These new findings about head trauma and high school athletes, published in the journal Pediatrics, shed further light on the medical guidelines that call for benching an athlete immediately after a head injury. Precautions like this are absolutely essential to prevent long-term complications. There is also the matter of a second hit quickly following the first. A second head injury could be fatal, as second-impact syndrome most often impacts younger athletes.
Overcoming Sports Culture
A player’s reluctance to acknowledge a concussion is understandable. It’s not only wanting to look strong and able, there is the matter of needing to stay in play in order to vie for scholarships that could mean the difference between a college scholarship or no college education at all. Sadly, there is also parental pressure that can have a high school athlete feeling like it’s absolutely necessary to keep on playing.
Because of situations like this, it’s important for coaches and trainers to take on the responsibility of checking out any players who take a hard hit during play. Stopping the game and having the athlete immediately evaluated are critical moves that every coach should feel comfortable with and be prepared to make. It’s also critical to know the signs and symptoms of head injury, and educate young athletes on this as well.
Educating Young Athletes About Head Injuries
High school athletes may feel infallible, but they’re not, especially when it comes to playing sports. Injuries can and do happen, head injuries especially. Knowing that a traumatic brain injury could sideline them forever without the proper diagnosis and treatment may begin to be enough to convince players to own up to what they’re feeling after a particularly brutal play on the field. And to sit out the rest of the game, and potentially many games thereafter.
Awareness is the game that athletes are playing, and coaches and parents are involved in this go-round too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created the Heads Up program in an effort to help educate these groups about brain injuries. A TBI can bench a player but also affect their ability to sleep well, see well, concentrate, perform in school, and so much more.
Knowing that they can get back in the game sooner if they own up to an injury on the spot may be the motivation a young athlete needs to make the right decisions about their health and well-being.
Immediate Treatment of Concussions
There are as many as 3.8 million sports-related concussions every year in the United States. A blow to the head or a hit or jolt that causes the brain to bounce within the skull can cause a traumatic brain injury. This type of blow stretches and damages brain cells and creates concussion symptoms like confusion, nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light.
Young athletes are especially susceptible to concussion complications and a prolonged recovery. The developing brain is less forgiving and is far more vulnerable to injury. Immediate rest after the injury and a slow return to normal activities is necessary to allow the brain to heal more quickly.