Last week we noted that March was National Brain Injury Awareness Month. We also discussed how Florida may pass a bill that would require all youth and high school sports associations in the state to implement and follow a standard protocol for properly managing head injuries sustained during sports. Research has proven that multiple concussions can have long-term risks, especially if concussions are not treated properly. Individuals who sustain a concussion and do not receive treatment could suffer from a serious brain injury in the future.
A Miami high school student recently wrote an article in The Miami Herald that explains the effects he experienced after suffering several concussions. In his article, he also expresses his desire for the Florida Legislature to support the proposed bill so that other youth and teens do not have to suffer like he did.
The bill, which aims to protect young athletes, would require the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) to adopt policies to educate young athletes and their parents about head injuries and the risks of head injuries. Parents and athletes would need to sign forms stating that they consent to the guidelines and understand that players may be suspended until their injuries are properly treated by a physician.
The 16-year-old is currently a sophomore at Ransom Everglades High School in Miami. The student explained that he sustained a concussion last year in a soccer game after a head-to-head collision with another player. It was his third concussion in four years, but student was given the opportunity to continue playing in the game. The teen said that his head was hurting more than usual, but he didn’t lose consciousness so he chose to play.
Months later, the soccer player continued to suffer from painful headaches after the sports injury. Eventually, doctors told the teen that he could no longer play soccer. The news was heartbreaking and the teen commented that he felt depressed for awhile until he found treatment at a concussion clinic in Miami. He said that he now understands the importance of treating concussions properly and chooses to wear a rugby helmet when he plays soccer.
The student is in favor of the proposed bill and he hopes that Florida Legislature will approve it. He explained, “I know first-hand that concussion education, prevention and treatment really do matter. It can mean the difference between staying out for just a game or being out of play forever with problems that affect your overall quality of life.”
The Miami Herald: “Sports-related brain injuries can be avoided,” David Goldstein, 28 Mar. 2011