Football: Concussion and Player Exposure Management Essay

The doctor diagnosed a “mild” concussion, said I would be good as new after a few days’ rest, and that I could play in our first home game Saturday. A senior starter, I was elated. By halftime though, my head throbbed so much I could barely hear the coaches, much less comprehend what they were saying. All I could do was cradle my temples, clench my teeth, and try to tough it out. Midway through the third quarter, dazed and confused, I was pulled from the game. Clutching my head, I slid off the bench. A doctor in attendance ordered me straight to he hospital.

My high school career ended abruptly during our second game. Dad’s station wagon took us swiftly to the nearest neurological unit. He was a great driver and always welcomed the chance to exceed posted speed limits; he later became an EMT. No aneurysm, thankfully. Rather, leaking blood on my brain’s surface was causing inward pressure and my symptoms. Awakening Monday, I learned I needed surgery ??” a craniotomy for a subdural hematoma. I lay flat on my back until Friday, waiting and wondering. Lifting my head esulted immediately in excruciating headaches.

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Miraculously, four weeks later, I was back on the sidelines watching my team finish out the season. Football is a game of great skill and strategy. We love its excitement and tradition. And yes, it can be hazardous. I was fortunate; I survived a rare (but not uncommon) incident. But others (like Damon Janes recently) aren’t ??” and won’t be ??” so lucky. Concussions were considered nuisances back in 1966. Today, I would not have been on that field. The game is much safer today because concussions are finally being aken very seriously.

The new focus on head trauma ??” largely, the result of the new research, improvements in protective gear, and smarter player exposure management ??” will benefit many more players in the future. I’m very pleased about that. Fewer and fewer players today will go through what I did. But, only if they speak up. to be a hero; be true to yourself and report any symptoms to your parents or coaches immediately. It really could save your life. And your parents will love you for it! Trust me I know.


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