Concussions and Their Repercussions

By Peyton Lubinsky

This happened to me:

Concussions are arguably the most serious and scariest injuries an athlete can suffer from.
Unfortunately, I personally know firsthand how serious concussions can be and how tiring
the recovery process is. I took a blow to the head with a soccer ball recently in one of my college
soccer games and was diagnosed with a concussion. Although I have recovered from the injury,
the process to get healthy again was not an easy journey. Before you can return to any sort of
exercise, you need to be symptom-free for at least 24 hours. Then, you also have to go through
the process of getting tests done. These include the Impact Test to test your memory and reaction
time and the BESS, Balance Error Scoring System, which tests your balance. I also suffered from a
concussion when I was 11 years old, and it happened the same way this one did. This injury is a
grueling process, and it is always scary whenever it deals with any part of your head.

My story is not unique, here is the problem:

My story is not unique, and the problem is that there are so many athletes in every sport that
get concussions each year. To be exact, in the United States there are 3.8 million athletes who
suffer from concussions each year (1). Out of all athletes in the United States, 5-10% of them get
a concussion in any given sport season (1). The numbers are so high each year because each
sport lacks injury prevention and it is not the main concern, even though it should be. Concussions
can lead to other serious issues, the main one is CTE, which stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (1). CTE occurs whenever a player has repeated hits to the head or has multiple
episodes of concussions (1). If a person has CTE, it primarily means that they have concussion
symptoms at all times, such as memory loss, headaches, balance issues, and many others (1).
Society does not realize how serious these injuries can be and the consequences the athletes will
face if they occur more than once.

Here is a non-profit organization working to fix the problem:

Although the general public might not see the major issue of concussions, there are non-
profit organizations that do. The biggest non-profit organization working to help reduce the
number of concussions is called CLF, also known as The Concussion Legacy Foundation. The
goal of the organization is to promote smarter and safer education and innovation, as well as
try to end concussions and CTE with prevention and research (2). The Concussion Legacy
Foundation is based in the United States with branches in the United Kingdom and Canada and
was founded in 2007 by Robert Cantu and Chris Nowinski (2). They have also started a CLF
Global Brain Bank that collaborates with scientists all over the world to help prevent and
understand concussions and CTE (2). So far, they have reached out to Australia, New Zealand,
and Brazil with this operation and are looking to expand to European and African countries in
the future (2). The organization has also taught coaches the saying “Team Up Speak Up”, which
helps them educate themselves and their athletes about reporting concussion symptoms when
they have them (2). The Concussion Legacy Foundation has expanded rapidly in only a short
amount of time and hopefully will continue to prevent concussions and possibly find a cure for

What actions need to be taken to prevent this:

Even though there are organizations doing their part in reducing the number of
concussions, they still are not fully preventable. So the question is, what actions should be taken
to prevent this as much as possible? Firstly, officials and athletes need to be better educated on
the importance of head injuries and the overall effect their sport has on their physical health. In
general, there needs to be more research on head injuries from specialists so that they can help as
best as they can and help prevent it from happening again. In order for them to make it more
preventable, they need more knowledge on recovery methods for concussions. According to the
CTL, athletes are more likely to get a concussion if they have already had one (2). Last but not
least, researchers believe that more preventative measures need to be taken in each sport. One
step they can take is always to make sure there are medical workers present, no matter the level
of the sport or age group. Another measure they can take is having the athletes wear more
protective gear, whether that be on their heads or any other body part. One last action that can be
taken is checking the field prior to the game to make sure there are no safety hazards. These
steps would prevent a lot of concussions from happening, as well as other sports-related injuries.

Here is what you (the reader) can do, right now:

Non-profit organizations, officials, and researchers are taking major steps to put
head injuries in sports to an end, but you can also help. A simple way you can do so is by donating
money to an organization that pushes for change (2). The CLF receives many donations a day,
and you can be one of the people who donate by going to
https://www.classy.org/give/312896/#!/donation/checkout. You can also take a baseline
concussion test when you have no symptoms, which will help test you if you ever have a
concussion (2). The process is simple, go to https://impactconcussion.com/baseline-testing/ and
go to ImPACT in the upper right-hand corner to take your baseline test. Comparing your baseline results from your actual test will help determine if any of your motor skills are not where they
should be. Taking these steps will not only help prevent concussions for you, but it will also help athletes
all over the world fend off head injuries as much as possible.

Works Cited

  1. “Concussion in Athletes.” Concussion in Athletes | Michigan Medicine, Accessed 16
    Sept. 2022. https://www.uofmhealth.org/conditions-treatments/brain-neurological-
  2. “Mission & History.” Mission & History | Concussion Legacy Foundation, Accessed 16
    Sept. 2022. https://concussionfoundation.org/about/mission-history.

Categories: Home, op ed, Sports

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