Over the past several years, the media has paid an increasing amount of attention to the subject of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBI) suffered by professional and amateur athletes. When an individual suffers a brain injury, even if the injury is seemingly mild, he or she can experience consequences for years to come. When athletes repeatedly sustain head injuries, the long-term consequences of this trend can be devastating.
As a result of increased media attention and public scrutiny, a number of concussion and TBI-related studies have been conducted in order to better understand how to prevent, diagnose and treat these injuries. Most recently, the Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth released a study comparing concussion rates among high school and collegiate athletes. This committee is affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences and the study was partially funded by the NFL.
According to the experts who conducted the study, high school athletes remain at a nearly 50 percent higher risk for sustaining concussions than collegiate athletes are. To make matters worse for this age group, the study has determined that both high school and collegiate athletes face a culture of resistance when it comes to both following head injury treatment plans and reporting concussions in the first place.
In addition, the study also determined that safety gear does not generally help players prevent concussions and that once athletes suffer a single concussion their risk for suffering multiple concussions is immediately heightened. This study is disheartening. However, parents and coaches can encourage players to report injuries and insist that they stick to their treatment plans. Preventing concussions remains a daunting task, but treating them properly is a choice that remains in the hands of the adults who supervise these athletes.
Source: Source: CNN, “High school athletes found more vulnerable to concussions,” Nadia Kounang, Oct. 31, 2013