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Concussions lead to modifications of coaching practices


“When in doubt, take them out” is the new motto for coaches in Massachusetts after officials became concerned about the possible consequences of a brain injury in sports. Concussions, which have been treated as minor injuries in the past, are now considered to be serious enough to warrant benching from a game until treatment is received.

Concussions are usually a relatively mild form of traumatic head injury but can sometimes develop more serious symptoms if not treated immediately. Approximately 3.8 million student-athletes suffer from concussions each year. Symptoms include headache, dizziness and temporarily interrupted cognitive processes.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Association recently administered concussion awareness tests to many school coaches and players and found that not all of them were aware of the dangers concussions can pose to student-athletes. The association along with other agencies recommended that the new motto be adopted uniformly by all schools and enforced by coaches. Players who have suffered a head injury are to be removed from competition, the parents are to be notified, and the students should be seen by a doctor within 24 hours.

This is a big contrast to days gone by, when athletes were encouraged to shake off an injury, even a potentially serious head injury, and get back in the game. Now, players can take tests before a season starts and then are re-tested if they suffer a head injury to determine the extent of possible damage. Coaches are also much more attuned to potential pitfalls from letting an injured player back on the field, court or ice.

Source: NECN, “Mass. high schools to focus on better handling of concussions,” Katelyn Tivnan, Sept. 4, 2012


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