Concussions are Deadly, Take Notice!

by blang1 on February 16, 2014 - 11:40pm

The concussion crisis has been an ongoing concept for many decades. Glassman & Holt (2011) review concussions as a whole and how the rate of concussions can be lowered by precautions and awareness in the article “Concussions and Student-Athletes: Medical-Legal Issues in Concussion Care & Physician and School System Risks.” Many people and/or athletes look at concussions as just a ding to the head, but it is much more harmful than what the eye can see. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury, which leads to a dramatic change in the brain cellular level (p. 26). Approximately 1.6-3.8 million concussions are induced every year in the United States. The large number of concussions induced is a big eye opener when it comes to being well prepared and creating requirements and precautions to limit the amount of concussions received by student-athletes. Part of the reason for the large number of concussions is that many athletes do not report their concussions, they just play through it. Glassman & Holt (2011) address that schools should keep guidance counselors, teachers, and parents in the loop of watching out for students that endure an unusual drop in grades and/or obvious symptoms of concussions such as unstable balance, headaches, and vomiting in order to identify the issue before it escalates.

            When a student-athlete endures a concussion, it is easy to assume that physical and cognitive rest is a good treatment. Although that may be true, there is much more that should be done to effectively and successfully cure a concussion. To effectively cure a concussion and increase awareness, schools should look into testing individuals before a sports season to establish a baseline and then when a head injury does occur, doctors and trainers can compare results of a post injury test to the baseline results. This precaution is effective, but students have found a way to outsmart the system by tanking portions of their pre-test so when they do receive a concussion they will still be able to play because the results of the tests will match up. To avoid being outsmarted schools should take notice to low scores on the baseline tests and assume that the individuals who received the low scores are purposely tanking the test. The schools should also implement re-testing for those specific student-athletes. Although the system for cutting down on concussions received by student athletes is not perfect, it has increased awareness by an excruciating amount throughout many decades.

Glassman, S. & Holt, B. (2011). Concussions and student-athletes: medical legal-issues in concussions care & physician and school system risks. New Hampshire Bar Journal, 52(3), 26-35.


Concussions are a very serious matter! It is not taken seriously enough by not only athletes but coaches and parents also, most people don't know the impact it can have on the athlete’s lives. Concussions should be taken as seriously as any other physical injury, if not more. I have heard of horror stories of students getting concussions and not reporting them and later on ending up with serious brain damage. It is terrible to have a good student athlete end up with no future because they wanted to play games without reporting their blow to the head. It is the responsibility of the coach to inform the athletes of the importance of reporting any injury. It is also the responsibility of the parents of the athletes to make sure everything is going well and that their child is acting normally after a hit to the head during a athletic event, whether it be a practice or a game. Coaches, parents and athletes should always be in contact and have a good relationship to make sure the everything is going well with the athletes and that there aren't any issues to deal with, whether it be a head injury or any other.
Student athletes need to be more responsible, assume their injury and ask for help when needed. You are not a coward if you ask for help and say that you are hurt, you are actually brave and smart for caring about your mental and physical health.

I really enjoyed that you've talked about student-athletes and not just athletes since usually when people talk about this situation they only consider the athlete's part. Also, you have well described the situation of players who use tricks to continue playing. The only thing that I believe that could be improve is to include more consequences of the baseline test. I've found this article that says that in some cases baseline testing can increase the risk of concussions.

I agree with Olaberge because not only professional athletes face the risk of head injury. Student athletes and kids are also at great risk in full contact sports. Especially young kids because their brains are not always fully developed yet, which could mean damage to the brain that one cannot come back from. Our product, the SmartHelmet will reduce injuries, by monitoring collisions of athletes. Starting with the professionals, and college athletes, and kids will soon follow these safety precautions.

This article is very interesting. I am an athlete and play sports where concussions are at high risk. Although I have never been concussed, I have friends who have had up to 5 concussions in their life. The question I have is; How many concussions should it take for an athlete have to throw in the towel? The article states that a concussion is like a brain trauma and changes the course of the brain cell development. Does that mean that my friend who has had five concussions, has had five shifts in cells? And each time getting concussed, his cells are being more and more disoriented? These concussions probably came from him trying to “beat the system” of the baseline test, and play in games where he wasn’t fully recovered, making him more prone to get another concussion. Because of incidents like these, I don’t feel that the baseline test is enough to diagnose concussions or decide when concussions are recovered. Though, if the athlete decides to lie about his recovery, that is his problem and there is nothing testing can do about that. I will look more into this but I have heard that concussions are causes of dementia and Alzheimer disease later on in life? Another Issue that I have heard of is the banning of contact in double-letter, high-level hockey. What is your intake on that? It is controversial as it may save many brain injuries, but on the contrary, contact is a huge part of the game and at such high levels, players must be practicing playing contact if they want to excel to a professional level. Another interesting fact is that ex- NFL players have sued the NFL for brain injuries they have suffered during their career and actually settled for 765 million dollars. I find that odd because they joined the league knowing that concussions are at high risk. What do you think?

About the author