Concussions: Taking a look at the price to play

Looking at the rising numbers of concussions in athletics

ABILENE, TX - Athletics related injuries happen in every sport, in every town and in every state. But the recent number of concussions from athletics is growing.

Coach Hess, former strength and conditioning coach at Abilene Christian University and now coach at DI said,"You can put a trash can on your head, you can put a block on your head, the power that it takes when you get hit, your brain is going to move, nothing is going to stop that."

Thousands of athletes per year express concussion like symptoms and experts like Dr. Samuel Brinkman said it’s because of the culture.

"There is a strong culture in athletics that has to do with not giving into injury, playing through pain, not letting things take you away from your game no matter how difficult there may be," Brinkman said. 

Hess said he believes the athletes now are stronger and bigger than they used to be as well, because they start playing so much younger. He said he believes that is a big reason for the growth in injuries.

With these bigger and stronger athletes, Brinkman said they are less afraid of being injured and will push the limits, sometimes too far.

Helmets have been made to try to further protect the athlete but Brinkman said those do nothing for the actual brain movement inside the skull, which is what causes the concussion.

"On the one hand brain cells get crushed on the other hand they are rendered unable to function on what we would hope to be a temporary basis," Brinkman said. 

To better detect concussion like behavior, a new computerized system was created that measures the athlete’s cognitive skills and activity level before the start of the season. If that athlete believes they received a concussion or head injury they will take the test again and if they don’t match up to their baseline on the test they won’t be released to play.

Hess and Brinkman both said participating in sports is a choice. All sports pose some type of risk and Hess said to be an athlete you take the risk and if you don’t want to take the risk then choose to do something else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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