A brief, wordless scene from the movie showing a high school team going through drills feels designed to remind us that concussion related brain trauma is not only a threat to adult professional players, but is a threat to our football playing kids too.
Not so very long ago, concussions weren’t considered to be medical attention seeking accidents. They were somewhat trivialized as “getting your clock cleaned” and treated with a “man-up” mentality. Thankfully, the evaluation and management of a concussion has significantly evolved and is now recognized as a potentially serious traumatic brain injury with long term consequences.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a direct or indirect bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.
It’s important to note that concussions aren’t just isolated to football but they are most common in contact sports. However, concussions can happen off the playing field too – in car or bike accidents, even minor falls.
If you suspect your child has a concussion:
- Seek medical attention (Check with a family physician, who can decide how serious a brain injury is.)
- Keep the child out of play (Brain injuries take time to heal. Consult with your doctor about a safe time to return to sports activities.)
- Inform coaches (If a child had a recent brain injury, coaches and parents should be informed.)
If not for quick thinking coaches and an adequately prepared athletic trainer at a Mid Carolina High School football game, Brennan Barber’s story would likely have had a much different outcome. Unfortunately, not all schools have athletic trainers available at all sporting events, making it even more crucial for parents and coaches to know how to identify the signs and symptoms of a concussion as well as the appropriate medical attention to seek.
Never ignore a head injury. When there’s doubt, sit the athlete out.