Did you know that lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S.? In the last five years, the number of young athletes playing lacrosse rose 158 percent. That’s a meteoric rise.
I checked with the Texas Scholastic Lacrosse Association, Inc. (TSLA), the governing body for the Texas High School Lacrosse League, and learned the league has 90 Member School Programs for the 2014/2015 season, and more than 3,700 high school student athletes across the State of Texas. At this rate, it’s important for parents to start paying more attention to this sport.
This week, some sobering news out of Boston University: Former NFL players who played tackle football before the age of 12 show more decreases in memory and cognitive functions than those who started playing tackle later, as teens.
With Super Bowl madness winding down, the issue of concussion is coming up. And once again, we’re talking about the NFL.
I’m a great fan of football, and Sunday found me like it did 111.5 million other viewers – sitting in front of the TV watching the match-up between Seattle and New England. There were great plays and it was a great game. But as a physician certified in concussion management, I watched closely as the Patriot’s receiver, Julian Edelman, took a hard hit helmet-to-helmet in the fourth quarter. It was clear he was slow getting back on his feet. My concussion alarm went off. And then, despite the NFL’s big focus on reducing brain injuries, we saw Edelman go back into the game, finishing with the winning touchdown that gave the Patriot’s players a Super Bowl ring.
Kudos to Trinity Christian Academy in Addison Texas. This school serves as a great example of how to strategically handle the aftermath of concussion among young athletes.
You may have heard the recent NPR story on this subject. For those who didn’t, here’s the condensed version.
A Trinity football player suffered a concussion during a game. For weeks after, he complained that his stomach hurt. He was tired all the time and felt pressure in his head. His doctor gave him some wise advice: No school, no football, no friends or electronics as long as these symptoms continue. The player was also told to be in a dark room and literally, “do nothing.”
Concussion awareness has skyrocketed. And as we’re learning, it’s a good thing.
More school athletic departments are making players sit out following head injuries. More parents are seeking immediate medical treatment when their child suffers a head injury. And more lawsuits are targeting sports organizations at all levels – organizations that in the past, downplayed the serious nature of head injuries. And then there’s the media, where the number of concussion-related stories is growing exponentially.
There’s recently been some debate among medical experts about the issue of rest following concussions in young people. On the one hand, most doctors recommend one or two days of rest at home, followed by a gradual returning to school and physical activity. Other doctors have been recommending longer periods of inactivity.
The jury is still out on what this might mean for high school football. But here’s the back story: On the heels of concussion lawsuits filed against the NFL and NCAA, this month, the same attorney who filed the NCAA class-action law suit has filed a class action suit against the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). And according to a CNN report, the attorney isn’t stopping with one state. He plans to sue every state high school athletic association in the country.
It’s pretty much their nature – team sports and injuries go together. But the rise in concussion awareness is making us all more vigilant about the broader issue of sports safety.
Over the last few years, there have been numerous studies and research on sports-related head injuries in young athletes. The findings have led to big changes in schools and local sports initiatives. Safety is increasingly becoming a priority – and a popular one at that.
A few weeks ago, CBS News aired a story that focused on the “unjustified fear of concussions.”
In the report, it was noted that there has been a decline in the number of kids playing sports. Blame was laid squarely on the shoulders of the media for too much hype over concussions. The report went so far as saying concussion hype is doing more harm than good by keeping kids out of sports.
The short answer is yes; there is a connection between the position a football player holds and concussion. But there’s more to the story. There is a connection between college football players and concussions – period. The study showed there is only a one in seven chance that college football players will report concussion symptoms.