By: Landon Moore, Staff Writer
Teen concussions are on the rise across America and the risk is only becoming higher. According to the Head Case Company, one in five high school athletes suffer a concussion during the course of a sports season. Many athletes here at James River suffer them also.
Concussions can happen when you least expect them, just like they did for softball player freshmen Robyn Bennett, who on October 27th, 2014, was hit by a pitch to the head.
“I slept a lot, had bad headaches, was nauseous, and was very sensitive to light and screens,” Bennett said.
This being her first concussion, she did not know what to expect, but advises others to not give up.
“You have to push yourself and not quit because your head hurts a little. You have to stay positive.”
With 33 percent of high school athletes that suffered one concussion suffered another in the same year, the need for safety is greater than ever.
“Communication is key. You have to tell people to be careful.” said Bennett.
Students receive concussions not just during sports, though.
“Many concussions come from NJROTC, theatre, and anywhere where activity is being done,” James River nurse Liz Klement said.
There is a very detailed protocol for situations like these.
“For sports related concussions they go to the trainer, and an email is sent to the clinic but for non sports related concussions, they must bring in a doctor’s note and go through a neuro check which consists of multiple questions to see the severity of the concussion,” Klement said.
There are three times as many catastrophic high school football injuries as in college. Freshman football player, Jarvis Chandler says form is important.
“To keep young athletes safe, coaches must teach great form to reduce concussions,” Chandler said.
Many safety improvements have come to the game at the pro level, such as improved helmets fit to some players specially proved to be very beneficial to player safety.
Rapids basketball coach, Warren Kempf, who suffered a concussion playing basketball in high school says people are “Overly sensitive about concussions” and “Players get kept out of the game when they are fine.”
What should be done when a concussion is suffered? “Students need to let their parents or teachers know if they feel they have suffered a concussion,” Klement said. “The best thing to do is sit in a dark quiet room to let the brain heal.”