A simple blow to the head or an accidental fall could end a high school season. Concussions get in the way of high school sports all across the country. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) 15% of highschool students experience one concussion. Another study done by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) says that 9542 cases are reported each school year on average.
In the last year, concussions have affected many student athlete’s seasons. Six Kayhi athletes have reported concussions including some that have had them multiple times.
Freshmen Joeben Lorenzo, JJ Parker, and Annelise Hiatt have all been diagnosed with a concussion in the first two months of basketball season.
“It makes the transition hard,” said Lorenzo. “I got my concussion in the championship game of the Clarke and missed my first weekend of travel with the team because of it.”
Boys basketball varsity head coach Eric Stockhausen said that it’s not all about losing a key player in your line up but more about the health of the student.
“Of course it matters in the long run of the team when a player gets a concussion,” said Stockhausen. “That’s not all it is about though, the first thing that comes to my head in that situation is, ‘is he okay’ and ‘we need to get help’, our team can deal with the loss of the player later.”
The same study by the APA also said that 6% of students that have had a concussion, report having more than one later in high school. Senior Madison Rose has had multiple concussions in her time in high school.
“Last year I missed the entire beginning of the season with my biggest concussion yet,” said Rose. “It was hard not playing basketball because it was my main focus at the time, but I was able to stay involved by being on the bench at all the games, and helping at practice.”
Rose got a concussion at the beginning of the season last year. She was placed on concussion protocol for the beginning of the season and returned to play at the regional tournament. Varsity head coach Kelly Smith says that it feels worse every time.
“I always worry when someone initially gets a concussion,” said Smith. “But when someone has another it always freaks me out because I would expect this one to be worse than the last.”
Smith also said the medical professionals at the games are always a huge help.
“Having them around always gives me relief. I know my player is in good hands when they come by,” he said.
Not only physical sports:
Concussions don’t only affect competitive sports such as football or basketball. Last year at Regions the cheer team suffered a huge loss when one of their flyers Lauren Scarzella took a fall during practice and was placed on concussion protocol.
“It was awful,” said Szarzella. “We had to change our entire regions routine to make up for it and to add on to it one of our stuntmen was also injured the same day.”
The team ended up finishing first in the competition even though they had lost a valuable member.
“I was very proud of the team, they made it through the competition and even when they thought all hope was lost they still came out stronger than they ever had before,” she said.
Amongst all sports the CDC says that cheerleading is the only sport in which concussions happen more often in practice than in real competition.
What comes next:
In the result of a concussion or even the thought of a possible concussion the student athlete is placed on concussion protocol. Protocol consists of removal from play, a check up by a medical professional, and a ten day waiting period before being reevaluated by a medical professional to return to play. JJ Parker is currently on concussion protocol, he received a concussion two weekends ago when playing Thunder Mountain high school.
“It’s really a drain,” said Parker. “I try to be here for my team whenever I can, but there’s not much you can do other than be supportive when you can’t actually get on the court.”
He said he has filled his time with other jobs at practice.
“Basically I help run the clock, pull out the ball racks, sweep the floors, and any other handy work Coach Stockhausen wants me to do.”
A concussion usually comes after a hard blow to the head or a fast jolt. Although loss of consciousness is common after receiving a concussion it is not always the case. Symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, sensitivity to light or noise, and confusion. Recovery from a concussion would include an appointment with your medical professional, rest from any activities, medicine such as ibuprofen to help with inflammation and headaches, and stay away from any activities that require a lot of concentration.