High Impact

High Schools Deal with Sports Concussions

Carolann Hurley

GWG Staff

Carolann Hurley

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Concussions can happen in any sport. Although these injuries are not visible, they are serious and stand in the way of the player and their game. A concussion is a brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head. These can also result when the body is hit with force, causing the brain to move rapidly. Symptoms of a concussion include headaches, nausea, confusion, and dizziness. Sensitivity to noise and light can also occur in those with a concussion. An athlete who suspects they have a concussion should tell a coach, doctor and parent. They must stay out of games and practices depending on the condition they are in.

Damage to the brain due to a concussion can last many years and require repetitive recovery. Many researchers are currently studying their long-term effects.  The results depend mostly on the condition of the brain and how it was treated. It is required that a patient with a concussion is cleared of the injury before returning to certain activities. Carolann Hurley, a junior at the Abington High School, was diagnosed with a concussion early in her sophomore year after a cheerleading accident. Hurley went through many doctors and physical therapy sessions, missing a lot of school in the progress. According to Hurley the situation was stressful.  “When I first got (the concussion) I only went to school for two periods a day. I gradually did more and I finished my sophomore year doing four periods along with lunch. If I did any more I would get migraines and feel sick,” said Hurley. Happily, the symptoms subsided over the summer and Hurley is back to school full time and hopes to get clearance for cheerleading.

Since I started coaching eight years ago, (concussions) have become a bigger and bigger issue.”

— Associate Athletic Director Kate Casey

According to the Sports Concussion Institute, a medical institute specializing in concussions, football has the highest concussion risk for males while soccer has the highest for females. Kate Casey, the Abington girls’ varsity soccer coach and Associate Athletic Director was asked to share her thoughts on the evolution of this difficult problem. “When I was playing, no one was diagnosed with concussions; although I’m sure many players had them. Because no one ever got checked by a doctor, there weren’t helmets or protection like there is now.  Athletes are being diagnosed with concussions and schools have plans in place to work with students who have this injury,” said Casey. The best way for athletes to protect against concussions, is to be aware of them.

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