March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. As the month comes to an end, the Miami Herald published an article from a local high school student-athlete who had suffered a sports related brain injury.
The 16 year old sophomore suffered a concussion after a head to head collision with a fellow soccer player. This was not the sophomore’s first brain injury. The sophomore reported having three concussions in four years; all of which occurred while playing high school soccer.
Each year, nearly 140,000 high school athletes suffer a sports-related concussion. Several states are looking to pass laws to help prevent sport related brain injuries in high school student athletes. In Illinois, pending legislation is looking to provide education and awareness for athletes, coaches, and parents. Although student-athletes need parental consent before competing, few Illinois schools have policies informing student-athletes and parents of the nature and risk of head injuries.
Other states are trying to introduce similar bills. Some states even want a policy requiring players who sustain a suspected head injury to be immediately suspended from play until they receive clearance from a qualified medical professional. In Illinois, steps are being taken in Springfield to improve safety regulations for helmet manufacturers. To learn more about Illinois brain injuries, follow the link.
In the article, the sophomore regrets not seeking medical treatment sooner for his brain injuries. The sophomore complained of constant headaches that interfered with his academics. He also suffered from depression after doctors told him he would never be able to play soccer again. Although the student-athlete’s symptoms have improved and he has been able to return to soccer, he has to wear a rugby helmet during games.
According to the article, more than 40 percent of high school athletes return to play before they are fully recovered because schools, coaches, parents and players are not adequately educated on head injuries. In fact, brain injuries have been called the “silent epidemic” because few people are aware that they represent a serious health problem in the United States. Click on the link to read the full article about head injuries.