Adolescent Concussions & Numbers That Shock

This article comes from the Cape Cod Times, written by Amanda Comak and takes an in-depth look at concussions in the youth of that area and the overall problem.

When Mikaela McGuire’s post-concussion symptoms were at their worst, the normally bubbly 16-year-old would cry herself to sleep.

If the piercing headaches, sensitivity to light, drastic memory loss and uncharacteristic mood swings weren’t bad enough, there were times she would sit and stare blankly at her homework.

Her brain – her memory – betraying the honor student so completely she would crawl into bed, her eyes welled with tears, craving sleep.

“I wouldn’t tell anyone, but that’s how frustrated I’d get with myself,” McGuire said, more than 12 weeks after the Nauset Regional High School sophomore sustained her fourth concussion – this one from taking a close-range shot off her temple during soccer practice.

“It’d just be me, sitting there, trying to finish my homework at night thinking, ‘I can’t do this. What’s wrong with me?’”

A very dramatic and sobering set of facts that people are now just coming to grips with.  There are many kids out there dealing with the same set of issues that are either ignoring them or not understanding why this may be occurring.  Granted the time in our lives that is filled with raw emotions and raging hormones as our body develops can produce some of the same feelings at times, if kids have been hit in the head repeatedly there is a REASON.

Comak also interviewed another high school athlete;

“I remember going down into my three-point stance and just having like, pressure go to my head,” said Gabe DeStefano, a sophomore football player for Nauset who felt what he explained as a migraine in the first half of a game this fall.

DeStefano took himself out of the game for a few plays and then re-entered. He returned a punt in the second half before the severity of his concussion took over and a teammate alerted Nauset trainer Michele Pavlu. Dizziness, vomiting, slurred speech and an ambulance ride to the emergency room that he has little recollection of followed.

“Before I had a concussion, I thought, ‘Yeah, if I get a concussion, I’m just going to tough it out,’ ” DeStefano said. “You know, if you break your finger, you tape it up and you go back in. That’s what I thought a concussion was, unless you black out and then you take the one week you’re supposed to take off and you go back in and you’re fine.

“Now I view it differently.”

Looking at the issue as it relates to occurrence, Cantu was quoted to say that he does not think there was more concussions just that the injury is being reported more as we become more sensitive to what this injury can and is doing.

According to the NFL, there is an average of 1.5 to two concussions in each game, and this season it was a common to see players getting a preliminary head injury exam from trainers on the sidelines.

While statistics like that aren’t available for high school and local sports, the numbers across Cape and Islands high schools have soared recently. Additionally, a study conducted by the Ohio State University College of Medicine in 2009 found that a possible 40 percent of high school athletes return to play too soon after a concussion.

I don’t know who Comak says is the “NFL” in the quote but if this is an accurate representation of concussions in the NFL this is a MASSIVE increase in numbers that are being observed by the research team here on this blog.  Our numbers have the rate of concussion per game at 0.62 that coincides with the overall reported number of 159.  If Comak’s numbers are correct there would be 384 – 512 concussions per year in the NFL.  That is an astounding number, one that I would love to confirm or deny.

The remainder of the article does a good job of highlighting the response to the concussion issue; state legislation, NP testing, and overall awareness increase about the dangers of this injury.  I am attempting to reach out to Amanda to clarify the NFL number.

Thank you to @ewheeler1976 for the link

One thought on “Adolescent Concussions & Numbers That Shock

  1. Dustin,

    So far this basketball season, I have had 4 players out of 56 participants (boys and girls 9-12th grades) suffer concussions. 3 were from hitting the head on the floor, the other one was from not seeing a pick and being blindsided in practice. The pick concussion was the worst as far as number of symptoms, deficits on the ImPACT test and length of recovery time. 3 of the 4 had sx for less than a week. The pick concussion’s sx lasted for almost 3 weeks. 3 of the concussions were suffered by a male athlete. The boys play a much faster and physical game; the style can be characterized as power basketball, take the ball to the basket and draw a foul. The girls style is more a finesse game with girls moving the ball around a lot and seeking to find the open shot.

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