The Rise of Awareness of Sports Concussions
I started playing football when I was five years old and continued to play football through college. Football is a significant passion of mine. I feel like football is a very valuable sport that can teach youth athletes many great lessons. Because of this, I’ve wanted to add to the body of knowledge to help make sure that we are keeping athletes safe – particularly ones that experience concussions. What we’ve learned over the past number of years about concussions is that being able to recognize concussions so that we can remove them from play is the most important aspect of keeping people safe.
We’ve developed a number of different screening tests for concussion that work very well and can often be done on the sidelines fairly quickly. These tests can give you a really good indication whether or not an athlete has experiencing concussive symptoms. This is important because we want to make sure we keep the athlete out of participation until all symptoms resolve. It’s important to understand that symptoms may not become apparent within 24 to 48 hours, so keeping an eye on that athlete and keeping them out of competition is really important if you suspect a concussion.
I think one of the most important aspects of concussion treatment and awareness is making sure that athletes don’t return to play while they’re still symptomatic. If an athlete is still having symptoms from a concussion and then get another concussion, that can be catastrophic.
Most importantly we want to make sure that everybody on the sports medicine team is aware of the signs of concussion and the symptoms of concussion and can recognize and appropriately treat concussions when they occur. Again that involves the athletic trainer, the coaches and parents to make sure that we’re all on the same page about what the treatment protocol needs to be when somebody has a concussion and how to keep them safe from getting any further injury.
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