Concussions: Why such a headache?

Concussions: Why such a headache?

by Logan Gilman

If you’ve watched the news in the past year, it’s a pretty safe bet you’ve heard or seen the word “concussion”. A concussion happens from a blow to the head or body that shakes the brain and causes it to slam against the inside of the skull. Symptoms of concussions include headaches, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, difficulty with concentration and memory loss.
The safety of the game of football has been under speculation lately, thanks to many serious and life-threatening brain injuries to adolescents who play the game. Seven high school football players have died this year alone.
Three-time concussion victim, senior Clay Cooper said of his past injuries, “You can’t do the things that you normally do. You can’t think very well, like you can’t understand things as much as usual.”
At least 50 youth football players from 20 different states have died or sustained serious head injuries on the field since 1997. Steps have been taken to make the game safer, such as moving the kickoff line five yards closer to the end zone so players don’t have as much of a running start before colliding. Programs have been put in place such as the “Heads Up Football Program,” whose goal is to teach players at a young age the correct way to tackle and block. But even with all of these recent efforts, more players have died this year than ever before.
“After the game, I went to untie my shoes and I couldn’t reach my feet. I started crying uncontrollably, and I started losing feeling in my body. People came around and asked if I needed help, and I couldn’t talk or answer anything. It’s like being stuck in a snow globe, being able to look out at the world and not being able to interact with them,” Concussion victim Ryan Kohlhof said. “It was a very scary feeling. I was honestly worried about my health. It was a very abysmal feeling.”
High school football players are nearly twice as likely to get a concussion or a serious brain injury than a college football player. This is because high school football players are somewhere in between the ages of 14 and 18 years old, while brains are still developing.
On average, at least one player sustains a mild concussion in nearly every American football game played. And this is just the recorded cases. Nearly 32-percent of high school football players don’t report concussions. There is a notion that surrounds the game of football, and young men in general, that if you have to sit out, you’re a wuss or a baby. This idea needs to be changed before there will be real progress toward lowering the number of head injuries in football.
An estimated 1.1 million kids played high school football in the 2014 season. An estimated half of those kids who played suffered an injury.  25-percent of the injuries recorded were concussions. That equals approximately 137,500 concussions suffered by high school football players each year. That’s a staggering number.
Many questions lie ahead for the future of football. How can we make the game safer without completely changing it? While many people have different opinions on what should be done with the game, one thing is for sure: Most people love the game of football, but nobody likes to see kids getting killed or injured while playing.