Handling concussed athletes correctly
The Daily Iberian
BY DON SHOOPMAN, THE DAILY IBERIAN
I know first-hand how strict officials are in dealing with concussions or, even, suspected concussions in Iberia Parish.
As an assistant soccer coach for the girls team at New Iberia Senior High, I saw one of our starting players get hit accidentally under the chin by the crown of another player’s head in warmups before an away game. She sat out the game with concussion-like symptoms.
As much as coaches want to get a player back into the game, the stringent rules read that so many steps must be passed before that happens. Our player missed several weeks worth of games before passing a battery of tests, including physical exams and neurocognitive exams, all part of the ImPACT Concussion Management System.
There have been many cases handled like this in prep sports around here, thank goodness. The injured players are getting the best possible attention.
Why? Concussions are dangerous. The brain is hurt.
Concussions have been in the news the past several years, with the most widely known cases happening in football at all levels. The professional football issues have generated 95 lawsuits involving 2,425 players or ex-players who are suing the National Football League for damages in concussion-related injuries.
Many former players contend there wasn’t enough done to protect them before or after those injuries. Not too long ago, the concern seemed to be getting a player who’d just had a knock on the head back in the game as soon as possible, they said, noting the dangers weren’t inherent at the time.
Also, the macho aura of the professional football player in the modern era was that he could and would play hurt. Football players sidelined by injury lose their positions on the field, they realized. That mindset trickled down to the college and high school levels, as well.
The chances of that happening today are much less. Concussion prevention and treatment is at the forefront from youth leagues to the NFL.
The Louisiana Youth Concussion Act, which has been in effect since June 2011, states that any high school athlete who has a concussive event must have medical clearance before being allowed to play again. It also put the responsibility for a player’s health squarely on the shoulders of the coaches if there are no appropriate medical personnel on the sideline.
The Iberia Parish School Board enacted its own strict concussion-related guidelines. Most Teche Area high schools are under Concussion Solutions, which is in charge of concussion management for 30 high schools around Acadiana, including Iberia, St. Mary and Vermilion Parishes.
“We manage five parishes worth of athletes, which amounts to about 3,500 kids. Any child who sustains a concussion in the program that we manage comes before me for evaluation. It puts us in the forefront of the state for a concussion program at the high school level,” Dr. Seth Rosenzweig, Concussion Solutions medical director, said Sunday in The Daily Iberian.
“It’s all about protecting the athletes and their future. We are doing our best to make sure that they have a future and that they are given the best treatment possible,” said Tommy Dean, owner and vice-president of Concussion Solutions.
Putting a person’s health first is the way to go. At any level.
SENIOR NEWS EDITOR
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ImPACT has been a tremendous tool for our program. The [test results are] hard facts that we look at for return to play decisions. And the parents are glad we are doing it.
- Don Short, ATC, Hopewell High School, Pittsburgh, PA