Barely a day passes without reports about the dangers of concussions in sports. The news is rarely good.
Take, for example, reports this morning that the NCAA has agreed to a settlement of a class-action head-injury lawsuit. The agreement includes the creation of “a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing football, hockey, soccer and other contact sports,” the Associated Press reported.
Earlier this month, criticism was directed at World Cup officials regarding their handling of head injuries. Tournament organizers “repeatedly failed to follow their own concussion protocol and then failed to take advantage of the international interest in the tournament to teach football fans and young players about the dangers of head injuries,” U.S. concussion expert Chris Nowinski told the AP.
The messages being sent to young athletes on this topic are particularly important. According to a 2013 report by the Institute of Medicine, “high school football players are nearly twice as likely to get concussions as college football players and high school athletes in other sports, and as many as 20 percent of athletes who get a concussion have symptoms that linger more than two weeks,” The New York Times reported.
The protocols regarding when an athlete can return to the field after suffering a concussion were among the topics discussed during a recent Baylor SportsCare Google Hangout.
“If you return someone too soon, they’re going to be four to six times more likely to sustain that second concussion, especially within the first seven to ten days of that first concussion,” said Scott Fletcher, a licensed athletic trainer and SportsCare liaison on the staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine.
One of the keys to a proper recovery is to return to the sport in gradual stages and only after being cleared by a physician.
These and other issues could be among the topics to be discussed at next week’s forum “What Parents REALLY Need to Know About Football.” The free seminar for parents will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 7, at Newman Smith High School, 2335 N Josey Ln in Carrollton.