A growing concern for high school students, a concussion is a brain injury due to a blow to the head or body, which can occur for many reasons such as incorrect equipment, a head collision, a fall, or a car crash. A few of the major symptoms for a concussion are headache, confusion, loss of memory, sensitivity to noise, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea, slurred speech, sensitivity to light, or loss of consciousness.
A concussion should be taken seriously and reported immediately. When a concussion goes untreated, the risk for a longer heal time can lead to long-term problems. Football is currently the number one sport for concussion rates. As of October 15, 2012, Penn Trafford High School has experienced ten reported concussions.
As an athletic training student aide, I am involved first hand with the treatment of a concussion. I was recently speaking with a student athlete in my school. As a senior football player, he has been involved with contact sports for a while. He mentioned in our conversation the concussion he sustained. He wanted me to know, as an athletic training student aide, the importance of utilizing equipment properly. He believed that his concussion was caused by “a lack of air in my helmet.”
His memory of what specifically occurred when he was injured is unclear. “It doesn’t all come back at once. As time goes on you remember more,” he said. He was upset he “had to sit out and go through the five phase which was not the most fun.”
The five-phase return to play is extremely important to complete before returning to a game.
The first of the five phases is a target heart rate of 30-40% with no strenuous concentration tasks. The second is a target heart rate of 40-60% with mild challenges in concentration, such as texting, balance training, and multitasking. The goal of stage three is a heart rate of 60-80% with more difficult tasks, balancing, and video games. Phase four is a heart rate of 80% with sports performance training levels with no contact. The final phase is at full effort and intensity including full practice and contact.
If you or someone you know is showing any of the symptoms of a concussion, have it checked out by your school’s athletic trainer or health care professional right away. Do not hide it; you could be risking your life.
Chelsey Corrao is a student at Penn Trafford High School writing for Channel One in cooperation with the National Athletic Trainers? Association. Students from Penn Trafford will contribute to our blog from time to time on issues student athletes face.