Concussion Prevention Begins In School

As I have stated time and time again, education is the key to prevention of any injury.  But none is as important as the head injury.  Education Week published a story by Christina A. Samuels about such prevention.

“Football is such a macho sport. There’s a pervasive mentality in that sport” to ignore injuries, said Mike Carroll, the head athletic trainer at the 1,000-student Stephenville High School in Stephenville, Texas. “I really have to emphasize that this is not something you can walk off.”

Mr. Carroll, who has been at his school for 20 years, doesn’t have to fight too hard with the coaches when it comes to holding students out who have received concussions. But some students are still slow to report their injuries. Recently, one student who was injured in a Thursday night game didn’t report the problem to the athletic trainer until Friday morning when his father noticed troubling symptoms.

“As the athletic trainer, I can’t be everywhere. It’s important that everyone in the circle [around the athlete] be aware of these injuries and what they can mean,” Mr. Carroll said.

I had such an incident last week, as a player under-reported the symptoms of concussion to me and my student.

He was rocked on a play on Monday and I questioned him after the play and he showed no signs and reported no symptoms.  I again queried him after the game and again, no signs and symptoms.

Tuesday, he came in and said he had a headache, which removed him from practice and PE until further notice.  He was told of the things he should look for and relayed that info to his mother. 

Wednesday, not at school, no contact with him or family.

Thursday, before practice he said he was feeling better, but we held him out of contact.  Where he then explained to my student that he was in fact having more symptoms than he was letting us know about.  He was told to do NOTHING for the weekend, but strict rest.

Monday, he had an extreme increase in symptoms and began showing overt signs that he was in distress at school.  The teachers knew what to look for and the administration has a plan in place for such incidents.  He was taken to the local hospital and removed from school.

That night I spoke to his mother and though our conversations we found out that this player was afraid to tell, because he wanted to play.  He not only hid things from me, but most of our information to his mother.  He knew he was going to be out if he was completely truthful, but what he didn’t understand until Monday was that by not reporting and taking it more seriously he was playing with borrowed time.

I learned a valuable lesson,  one I should have known, well did know but trusted this individual, contact with parents is essential!  And re-education of the athlete is just as important.

The take-home message is that our system worked, as far as the teachers and administration, perfectly.  It was not as well with me and poor with the athlete.  We have fixed the issue in the notification process and it will not occur again.  And the player still has not exerted himself almost two weeks later and is progressing quite nicely.

This is not

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