Concussions in Contact Sports

Photo by Photo Courtesy of Industry Tap

Zack Martin, News Editor

     According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, high school contact sports cause 62,000 concussions a year. Last year, Mehlville athletes sustained around 45 injuries that showed signs of concussions.

    “They [concussions] are more prevalent probably during the Fall season because of football and cheerleading,” said athletic trainer, Juhyung Kim.

    Concussions don’t only affect the athletes on the field. Their everyday activities, including learning, are affected.

    Sophomore, Kayla Saller, is one of these students affected severely by her concussion.

    “My freshman year I couldn’t do any computer work,” said Saller. “I had to get printed copies of everything.”

    Not being able to look at screens is only one of the effects concussions can have on people. Saller and Kim both mentioned that concentration, memory, and physical activity are all hindered due to concussions. They also said that there is an increase in the sensitivity of lights and sounds.

    Preventing concussions is not an easy task, if possible.

    “There really is no way to prevent a concussion,” said Kim.

    This is due to the way concussions are caused. When a person’s head stops moving, the brain  is still moving because of its acceleration. This movement, if drastic, is what causes concussions.

    “No matter how much padding you wear, if you are moving at a certain speed and hit something, the brain still accelerates,” said Kim.

    Organizations and sports leagues, like the National Football League (NFL), have been trying to discover ways to limit the number of concussions that happen in sports. New helmets are being designed to absorb shocks and hits so the head does not move as much.

    “The way we treated concussions five years ago versus today is already vastly different,” said KIm. “In the next five to ten years, I’m really curious to find out with research.”