Rising concussion rates cause concern

Paul Wernes, travel editor

Concussions in school sports have increased in recent years, causing concerns among athletes and coaches alike.
“I have had four concussions and they are all from cheer. So far they haven’t affected my life too much which is surprising to me. I have become more cautious during cheer so I don’t get any more of them,” said Chloe Craft, a senior.
Although less serious than life-threatening blows such as skull fractures, concussions still cause major disruptions in brain activity. They affect concentration, memory, emotions, thought processes and other cognitive functions.
Because concussions are so impactful to health, a person who has one can experience symptoms that cause them to need to rest for as long as four weeks. Additionally, they cannot return to their sport until being cleared by a doctor.
“With my most recent concussion, I had an ongoing headache and it was hard to focus on things. Loud noises seemed to make everything worse,” said Sommer Stumpf, a senior.
A potential side effect of repeated concussions is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It can cause symptoms such as memory loss, impaired judgment, depression, anxiety, and eventually progressive dementia.
“I take head injuries very seriously. Untreated head injuries can lead to CTE and TBI. High school athletes that play contact sports, like football and wrestling, are more at risk for head injuries. Whenever I have an athlete who complains of head pain, I immediately pull them out and ask them to see the trainer or doctor,” said Cesar Rojas, wrestling coach.
Some athletes, after a concussion, want to return to their sport and daily activities as quickly as possible, sometimes ignoring recommendations from a doctor. However, this can put them in more danger if they drive or do another activity that requires them to use full cognitive ability.
Considering the problems concussions can cause, it is important to take safety measures, such as wearing protective equipment, and if a concussion occurs, to rest and return to athletics only after cleared by a doctor.