Concussions 101

Leah Canonico and Leah Canonico

Student-althletes at Franklin High seem to be getting concussions left and right. Many concussions just require  a week or two on the bench and a lot of rest, but some can cause permanent brain damage.

The most important thing to remember if you suffer from a head injury on the field is to stop playing. If the brain hasn’t healed properly from a concussion and someone gets another brain injury, it can be serious. Repeated injury to the brain can lead to swelling, and sometimes people develop long-term disabilities, or even die, as a result of serious head injuries.

A concussion occurs when a person’s brain rocks around in the skull or bangs against it. This can lead to bruising of the brain, tearing of blood vessels, and injury to the nerves, as well as loss of normal brain functions.

Senior and Varsity Soccer Player Connor Donahue suffered from a concussion a few weeks ago when he smacked heads with another player on the field. He had frequent dizziness and headaches, and he can’t remember what happened that day. Although he has a doctor’s note that says he can opt out of homework, tests and quizzes, he has been out of the season for 4 weeks and counting, and would “much rather be playing”. It is extremely important to play safely, especially for seniors who are playing their last seasons in high school, or if they are being recruited to play sports in college.

The symptoms of a concussion include:

  • “seeing stars” and feeling dazed, dizzy, or lightheaded
  • memory loss, such as trouble remembering things that happened right before and after the injury
  • nausea or vomiting
  • headaches
  • blurred vision and sensitivity to light
  • slurred speech or saying things that don’t make sense
  • difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
  • difficulty with coordination or balance (such as being unable to catch a ball or other easy tasks
  • feeling anxious or irritable for no apparent reason
  • feeling overly tired

It’s important not to mask pain with medication to justify doing activities that might put you at risk for injury. Although they might not seem it, concussions are extremely serious and can lead to extreme consequences if not checked out. Remember to be safe, be smart, and be prepared when playing any type of contact sport that puts you at a risk for injury.