The Problem with Concussions

Prevention and Facts about Concussions and their effects on athletes. 

Brandon Bowles, Staff Writer

Concussions in sports have become one of the most debated topics in recent years among parents, coaches, doctors and sport analysts around the world. The dangers of concussions have always been prevalent in the minds of sports organizations.

However, they had no idea on how to properly treat a concussion and keep their athletes safe while in competition. Thanks to the concussion epidemic of recent years, organizations are being forced to take a deeper look into the causes of concussions and what they can do to minimize their occurrence.

The word concussion means “to shake violently.” A concussion occurs when someone is struck with enough force to the head that it causes the brain to move around in the skull. Some symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness and disorientation.

According to a study published in The American Journal of Sport Medicine, Men’s Wrestling had the highest percentage of Sport Related Concussions (SRC) at 10.92 percent per 10,000 Student Athletes.

Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey were the next highest at 7.91 and 7.52 percent respectively. Football followed close behind at 6.7l percent.

Although Men’s Wrestling had the highest percentage of SRC, football had the highest number of annual concussions at 3,417.

Studies like the one above became more relevant after the case of Preston Plevretes, a former college football player at La Salle University in Philadelphia. On Oct. 4, 2005, he suffered his first concussion after being hit during practice.

After the hit, he complained of headaches and a few days later was told to go to the school’s medical center where he was diagnosed with a concussion. He was told he could return to play after sitting out just one game.

On Nov.5, 2005 a 2nd blow to the head that would change his life forever. Thanks to that hit, Plevretes suffers from Second Impact Syndrome (SIS.)

SIS occurs when your brain is not fully recovered from your first concussion and you get hit again and cause non-repairable damage to your brain. This is why on April 29, 2010 the NCAA required all schools to have a concussion management plan.

Robbie Wise, the head football Athletic Trainer for Wingate University, discussed the return to play policy. This policy contains 7 days that the player must complete in order to be cleared to play.

On the 1st day, the athlete must be symptom free for 24 hours. On day 2, the athlete must complete a mild workout. On day 3, the athlete must complete an 85% workout. On day 4, they complete a no contact practice. On day 5, they have a full contact practice. On day 6, they have a full release to practice. Day 7 the athlete must be cleared by the team doctor. It is up until this point that the athlete can then be cleared to play. If the symptoms return, the athlete must repeat the process.

Cody Cothren, a former football player at Wingate University, experienced 5 concussions in his collegiate career. Cothren said the best way to avoid a concussion is to “stay hydrated, manage your pain the right way, and practice good tackling techniques.”

Concussions will always be a pressing issue in sports, but according to Dr. Brandy Clemmer, the program coordinator for Athletic Training at Wingate University, the best way to limit concussions from occurring is for coaches and players to stay educated.

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Edited by: Sara Gunter



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