Some Thoughts on Concussions

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Currently some of the most widespread and increasing injuries in sports today are injuries or trauma to the human brain according to the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute. The most frequent brain injury is often a concussion, (TBI), which can occur when any object hits or strikes your head. Concussions cause a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. For example, most concussed people receive headaches, nausea, and cannot think clearly. Another long-term symptom can be loss of memory, or amnesia.

As a student-athlete at Sacred Heart Cathedral, I have had my fair share of gruesome sports injuries. One of the most horrifying moments in my life was during a freshman year football game against one of our league rivals, the Riordan Crusaders. It was a routine punting play gone terribly wrong. As I lined up in the backfield to receive the ball, the left side of the line was penetrated immediately. Lucky for me, their star linebacker was on that side and charged right at me, executing an illegal hit straight to my helmet. There was no penalty flag thrown, which should have been, since it was an incredibly dangerous hit. After the hit, I fell straight to the ground, in need of immediate medical assistance and was later treated at the local hospital.

According to National Athletic Trainers Association, an estimated 300,000 sports-related concussions among young athletes, ages 15-24, occur yearly in the United States. The sport with the most concussions annually is the hard-hitting game of football because it is a rough contact-collision sport. According to Mr. Oscar C. Melero, the head athletic trainer at Sacred Heart Cathedral, “concussions have been on the rise at Sacred Heart Cathedral.” On an average, SHC reports approximately 15 concussions a year. However, the last fall, my freshman year, 14 teenagers incurred concussions from freshmen football alone. Sacred Heart Cathedral is concerned with the number of concussions that have been occurring. Brian Suarez, currently a sophomore student athlete on the Sacred Heart Cathedral football team, sustained a concussion from a collision in a tough football game against Saint Ignatius.  Suarez reported, “Getting a concussion is frightening and shocking. The symptoms that I experienced were loss of memory from the collision, dizziness, and I was very sensitive to light.”  Brandon Wong, a sophomore mid-field soccer player, also received a concussion in a thrilling and breathtaking game against Watsonville High School after receiving an elbow to the head.  Wong stated, “It was the worst feeling I ever felt and I had no recollection of the exact play.” Today, safety is the main priority in most sports and people are trying their best to keep it as safe as possible. Many sports are implementing new rules to achieve this for their athletes.

Most young athletes recover completely after experiencing a concussion. That being said, there is always a risk that there could be long-term symptoms. Because of these concerns and with concussions from high risk sports at Sacred Heart Cathedral on the rise, it is important that Sacred Heart Cathedral coaches and trainers do everything necessary to keep their student athletes as safe and healthy as possible. It is also imperative that they provide top-of-the-line helmets and headgear to prevent these concussions.