Monday, June 11, 2012
NFL lawsuit revisits concussion discussion
Concussions are once again in the news — a massive lawsuit has been filed by former players against the National Football League, alleging the NFL has purposely withheld evidence of the long-term effects of head trauma and concussions.
It remains to be seen whether this is true. But there is no doubt about the negative impacts concussions can have one someone’s health.
Specifically, young athletes are very much at risk. And with summer football practices looming, now is the time to learn about the symptoms of concussion and what to do if you suspect a head injury.
Fortunately, awareness has increased in the youth sports realm. In many cases coaches are required to receive training on concussions, and parents are more aware than ever because of all the publicity in recent years.
Concussions are brain injuries caused by a blow to the head. It is important to note that even a minor bump can cause a serious injury, and many times symptoms do not emerge until days or even weeks after the injury.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you are a coach or a parent, watch for these signs:
• An appearance that the victim if dazed or stunned
• Slow to answer questions
• Loss of consciousness
• Behavior or personality changes
• Can’t recall events prior to or after incident.
Symptoms that athletes may report or exhibit include:
• Headache or “pressure” in the head
• Nausea, vomiting
• Balance problems, dizziness
• Blurry or double vision
• Light sensitivity
• Concentration issues
• Memory problems
The bottom line is concussions are serious, and if a young athlete shows any signs or symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Gillian Mosier, RN, is the Trauma Program Manager at The William W. Backus Hospital. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at www.backushospital.org/backus-blogs or e-mail Ms. Mosier or any of the Healthy Living columnists at firstname.lastname@example.org