Varsity Season Over, Lesson Learned

Last night was our last varsity game, though we have one more JV game in about 30 minutes (thanks to my student for getting it all set up).  From a concussion standpoint, we ended the varsity season with a total of 4 concussions.  Over a nine-game schedule that is less than .5 per game.  The rate would be 45 players divided by concussions for a rate of 11.45 on the season, slightly higher than current rates.

That is what leads me to this post.  In our last game, we faced a team that has athletic trainers by the name of John Storsved and Steven Broglio, PhD.  Both are active in the athletic training community, working at nearby state universities.  Dr. Broglio is working with the HITS program (helmet sensors) at the University of Illinois.  John is the Clinical Instructor for athletic training at Eastern Illinois.  Prior to the game, the three of us were engaged in “nerd” talk about the increase in concussion rates.

We have all observed more concussions this season and were discussing possible causes of this alarming trend.  Although didn’t reach a consensus on a singular cause, we did all agree that awareness has increased across the board.  Parents, coaches, and student-athletes are allowing more access to the “unseen/unreported” concussions of the past.  But one topic we did spend some time on was the violence and velocity of the hits kids are taking and delivering these days.  This too could be a reason for an increase in concussions.  This leads me to my editorial for the day.

NFL players are getting paid millions to, in effect, destroy their bodies, brains included.  However, I feel that kids are emulating what they see on Sundays by taking to the field on Fridays.  The lowering of the head is something that coaches DO NOT teach, yet we see the best football players in the world continually do it, without penalty.  Last night I saw and heard a perfect example from one of our players.

He was blocking late on a play where there was a scrum and launched himself into the pile head first to make a block/hit.  It WAS NOT flagged (should have been), and he came off to the sidelines.  I asked this player what he was thinking and why he did that. His response…”They do it in the NFL.”

Enough said.