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Head injuries affect teenage players

by DARIUS LEWIS Staff Writer

Concussions have been an integral part of high school sports for decades, but only recently have they been spotlighted as a major issue amongst high school, college, and professional players.

Nick Marinelli, defensive end of the Monroe Falcons, believes that head injuries are threatening, but hopes it does not affect his future plans to play college football. He loves sports and especially football because of the “team aspect and being able to hit people”.

Unfortunately, head injuries and serious concussions impact athletes of all ages, and can drastically change their plans by crippling them for life.

Luckily for Marinelli, the Falcons have pre-established exercises and conditions set to minimize the risk debilitating head or neck injuries.

According to Marinelli, “We have drills to tackle correct way, safety rules, and no helmet to helmet contact”.

There are a variety of factors that influence the amount of concussions that are reported every year, including the current lack of precautionary measures established to prevent such brain damage from occurring. Coaches tend to send their players back in the game after a substantial blow to the head, whether helmet to helmet or otherwise, and this further increases the risk of long-term damage.

In a recent survey involving 134 high school football players, a third reported having experienced concussion-like symptoms at least once in the past two years but did not request medical attention. Most of those students said they avoided seeking medical attention because they feared missing football games. Ten percent of students said that they were once diagnosed with a concussion. Fifty-three percent of high school athletes have sustained a concussion before participation in high school sports, and 36 percent of collegiate athletes have a history of multiple concussions.

This is an extremely startling statistic because concussions can lead to irreversible damage to the brain, and effects include, but are not limited to: induced convulsions or seizures, shortened memory, permanent slurred speech patterns, and diminished hand-eye coordination.

The leading causes of concussions are falls, motor vehicle-traffic, and struck by/against events and assaults. When the brain moves rapidly inside the skull, a concussion has occurred. Usually, a direct blow to the head or whiplash on the body will lead to concussion. The subsequent impact hits the walls of the head. The second scenario is a rotational concussion, in which brain tissue is damaged from the brain rotating from one side to the other.

Head concussions affect players from elementary to professional sports, and the more people are aware of the epidemic, the sooner we can correct the issue.

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