Preventing Concussions in Football

What are concussions?

A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a serious blow or hit to the head. The first hit to the head can cause serious headaches or migraines while the second or third hit can cause long term permanent brain damage.

Statistics on Concussions

  • 3,800,000 concussions were reported in 2012
  • 33% of concussions occur at practices
  • 1 in 5 high school athletes will get a concussion during their season
  • 90% of people who have had concussions do not loose consciousness
  • An estimated 5.3 million Americans who have had concussions will have traumatic brain damage in their future

Concussion rates per sport

  • Football: 64 -76.8
  • Boys' ice hockey: 54
  • Girl's soccer: 33
  • Boys' lacrosse: 40 - 46.6
  • Girls' lacrosse: 31 - 35
  • Boys' soccer: 19 - 19.2
  • Boys' wrestling: 22 - 23.9
  • Girls' basketball: 18.6 - 21
  • Girls' softball: 16 - 16.3
  • Boys' basketball: 16 - 21.2
  • Girls' field hockey: 22 - 24.9
  • Cheerleading: 11.5 to 14
  • Girls' volleyball: 6 - 8.6
  • Boys' baseball: Between 4.6 - 5
  • Girls' gymnastics: 7
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Symptoms

Some symptoms of concussions can be immediate or delayed

  • Throbbing headaches or feeling pressure to the head
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness "seeing stars"
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Slurred speech
  • Appearing dazed

Effect of Concussions

Short Term:
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Seizures (Rare) - 5% chance
  • Coma (Rare) - 5% chance


Long Term:

  • Loss of memory
  • Personality changes
  • Lack of concentration
  • Brain damage
  • Headaches
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How you can prevent concussions

There are many ways that you can prevent yourself from getting a concussion. Some ways include:


  • Not lowering your head during a hit
  • Wearing a well fitted helmet with the proper padding, make sure your organization has their helmets re-conditioned each year
  • Learning the proper fundamentals and apply them when playing, follow the rules
  • Use the proper techniques when blocking and tackling
  • Wear a mouthguard with cushioning

There are helmets made to help limit the amount of impact to the head (Riddell Speed Flex)

Special Report: Concussion Prevention

Recovery

Steps:


  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Avoid activities that require a lot of concentration
  • Avoid recreational and contact sports for a certain amount of time
  • Limit the amount of time on electronics
  • Don't spend too much time in brightly lit areas
  • Talk to healthcare professional about when to return to school or when to resume other activities

Bibliography

"Head Case - Complete Concussion Managements." Stats on Concussions & Sports -. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.


"Concussion." Concussion. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 Feb. 2015. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.


"Concussion Prevention." The Best Ways to Prevent Concussions. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.


"Concussion." Symptoms. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.