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Concussion Protocol’s Impact on Players

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These are some CHS sports that are prone to concussions.

These are some CHS sports that are prone to concussions.

These are some CHS sports that are prone to concussions.

Eden Beyene, Staff

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The CHS concussion protocol is straightforward: any suspected concussion gets referred to the athletic trainer, who is specially trained to diagnose concussions. This diagnosis can happen when a player states they have any injury above the neck, or when they exhibit signs of concussions, such as wobbling or squinting.

The concussion policy has gotten stricter over the last two to three years. This is, in part due, to a growing awareness of concussions due to new studies such as from Boston University. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “permanent organic brain damage resulting from repeated traumas from heading the ball” occurs in soccer players. It makes sense to change the concussion policy in order to prevent damaging head injuries. The question over whether it is currently effective or not, however, is still debatable.

According to varsity football coach Rich Hambor, his sport has accurately identified all possible concussions reported to them under this policy. This, however, does not guarantee effectiveness. Sometimes coaches do not notice a possible concussion and, therefore, cannot diagnose it. This is what happened in the case of junior and varsity football player Nathaniel Beyer. He developed a concussion after being knocked down by another player. At first glance, the coaches didn’t think he retained an injury, and neither did he.

“I didn’t know if I had one or not because I didn’t know what it felt like,” Beyer said.

This is a major drawback of the policy: it relies, in part, on the players to relate their injuries. Players could underestimate their injuries or refrain from talking about their them in order to stay in the game.

Mr. Hambor emphasizes that players must tell coaches about suspected head injuries. This would strengthen the ability of the protocol to recognize concussions as early as possible.

He also believes the policy itself could be improved. However, in order to prevent concussions, he thinks improvements can come from the medical field, which can provide better equipment.

Beyer thinks the policy has a lot of room for improvement.

“They need more reliable tests… actually at the school,” said Beyer, referring to the crude eye tests the school currently has. Overall, he believes the policy should be made stricter.

Sophomore Sylvia Johnson would disagree, however. She suffered a concussion after being hit in the back of the head with a serve during volleyball. Once she returned to school, she had to wait five days before being allowed to play her sport.

“Even though I was cleared by professionals who specialize in brain injuries and I was ready to play, they are so strict on that five day return to play plan to ensure that the athlete is actually ok with physical activity.”

For this reason, she doubts the effectiveness of the policy; however, she still understands the school’s perspective.

“If something were to happen, then they would be liable,” said Johnson. “I think [the policy] is more of a safety net so that [the school doesn’t] get in trouble.”

Although the policy has underwent some recent changes, it has ways to go in order to balance the needs of athletes and the liabilities of the school; only then can it truly be effective.

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Concussion Protocol’s Impact on Players