Concussions increasing for student athletes, recent study says

By Kara Duffy |

Traumatic brain injury, also know as the silent epidemic, is on the rise for children and student athletes, according to a study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The number of student athletes diagnosed and treated for concussions have risen 60 percent between 2001 and 2009, the study said. The study was based off data from 66 hospitals that documented the amount of emergency room visits. It found that the rise in visits for a traumatic brain injury rose from 153,375 in 2001 to 248,418 in 2009.

As a response, the CDC began Heads Up!, which is a program geared toward spreading awareness about the signs and symptoms of concussions.The program pledges to educate athletes, parents and coaches about how to recognize and prevent serious traumatic brain injuries.

For Flagler College athletic trainer Jennifer Rinnert, education is key.

“I think coaches and parents have become more educated about the signs and symptoms of concussion and also the severity of the injury,” she said.

The NFL has found a 34 percent rise in the amount concussions since 2008, the Associated Press said.
As a result, the NFL is becoming more aware of the rising concussions rate and is taking action. The NFL will be improving helmet technology and also enforcing the return-to-play guidelines for players.

“The days of ‘shaking it off’ or ‘playing through it’ are over,” said St. Augustine High School athletic trainer Andrew Crews. “If a player tries to play through the concussion, he or she can suffer from second impact syndrome which can be devastating, and even deadly.”

Concussions left untreated could result in second impact syndrome which is a result of returning to a sport and receiving a second concussion while still being affected by a primary concussion, Crews said.

The New York times reported that once a person has received one concussion, they are four times as likely to sustain another, which can cause more damage and also take a longer time to heal.

Since the beginning of the semester, there have been about 10 Flagler College student athletes who have come to the athletic trainer questioning a concussions, Rinnert said.

St. Augustine High School currently has two student athletes who are rehabilitating from a concussion, Crews said. He said he has some advice for athletes, before they return to the game.

“When in doubt, sit them out,” he said. “Sports are a privilege, not a right.”

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