Concussions Running Rampant
The painful recovery and path afterwards
It seems that most everyone who plays a sport has been “concussed” before. A concussion, when the brain is jostled inside the skull, can create a myriad of problems, especially for students. The combination of a larger workload, and wanting to jump back into sports to appease the team increases stress and the time of recovery.
Unusual side effects mixed with the need to do well in school, cause stress on the recovering athlete, but thankfully many teachers know to be understanding of students with concussions.
The symptoms of a concussion can range from headaches, dizziness, and double vision, to memory loss, confusion, and irritability. The symptoms, according to the Children’s Hospital, are physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral abnormalities. Overall, being concussed is not taken lightly.
Junior Sydney Buckley got her concussion from lacrosse, and was later caught in a predicament. AP exams were coming up, only a week after initial diagnosis, and she would not be in school for the makeups. With constant headaches, it was difficult for her to be at full potential when taking the exams.
“Take it slow. Don’t try to force yourself. You have a level that you can reach when you have a concussion. If you go below the level, you will never get better, if you go above, you’re going to get worse,” said Buckley.
Emily Crandall, a freshman, was diagnosed with her second concussion of the lacrosse season, which was therefore shortened to three weeks.
She explains that, “Recovery feels very long. I can’t look at electronics for long periods, can’t participate in physical activity, and my homework is also limited.”
The diagnosis of concussions has run rampant in teen sports for quite some time. As contact sports up their game in aggressiveness and competition, it should be no surprise that concussionshave increased in adolescents.
According to the Journal of American Medical Association, about 20 percent of teens said they have been diagnosed with at least one concussion, and nearly six percent have been diagnosed with more than one.
However, the real reason concussions have gained more attention is not from teen stats, but NFL players who participate in the biggest contact sport: football. A Time 2017 report found, after examining 202 deceased football players at various levels, from high school to the NFL, that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disorder associated with repetitive head trauma, was diagnosed in 87 percent of the players. The symptoms of CTE can include memory loss, aggression, and suicidal thoughts.
Studies such as this one provide the real reason concussions are not treated lightly anymore: the possibility of long term effects of brain damage.
Dr. Dennis Cardone, co-director of the Concussion Center at NYU Langone Health, told NPR that, “Now everybody is geared towards making sports safer, but with the changes we are making, are we really making them safer? We need to look at the prevalence rates going forward.”
By replacing the “walk it off mentality” with awareness and stringency on recovery, teens will be healthier.