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Are Concussions Ruining High School Sports?

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Are Concussions Ruining High School Sports?

John Mueller, Sophomore Writer

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Concussions are a growing problem in the world of Sports, the emergence of CTE’s have impacted all of the nations leading athletic leagues. Athletes and coaches alike are being forced to consider the consequences of playing high contact sports at the competitive level. Concussions have always been an issue but with the new discoveries in health issues post concussions have lead to much more scrutiny towards organizations such as the NFL and the MLB.

Concussions have grown in recognition with the recent developments in post concussion issues. Concussions can ruin a players performance for a couple games, a couple weeks or even their entire career. DePaul Prep junior AJ Adu suffered a concussion during a soccer match when he hit his head on an opponents knee after a tackle. “I had to adjust into having severe migraines on the field… I’m more hesitant in games because of my past concussion.” Sophomore Sam White also suffered a concussion during the summer before his freshman year at DePaul Prep. He fell while rock climbing and hit the back of his head, which caused the injury. Sam missed half of the 2016 Soccer season because of the concussion “I was nervous about coming back because it was my first time… I have been dizzy (during games).” There is no doubt that concussions have an impact on player performance physically, as players may struggle to regain their balance and coordination that they once had. More importantly however, the impact on the mentality of a player is also negatively affected, as once aggressive players resort to being more passive and less involved in the game.

Some steps have been taken in preventing these injuries, the MLB changed their slide rules to protect players from head injuries. Youth Soccer leagues across America have banned the use of head during games as the repeated contact with the ball has been known to cause concussions. These are both good steps for these sports, but in sports such as baseball and soccer, concussions are rare and are usually accidents. In Football, concussions are common and most players have dealt with them at one time or another. Many ideas have been put forward towards player safety, however few offer a solution without tampering with the integrity of the game. Sure you can eliminate big hits and make the game softer, but that’s not American Football, that’s not what consumers want. No sane American would pay $100 to go watch a game of Flag Football. So the fine line is evident, where can we find a compromise in where the players are kept safe but the fabric of tackle football still remains.

But what does this mean at the high school level. The IHSA, The governing body for Illinois sports at the High school level, states that “Any athlete that shows signs or symptoms of a concussion shall be removed from the game and cannot return to play until cleared by an appropriate health care professional.” This sounds great, but there is no real rule as to what to do with multiple concussions, and any post concussion issues aren’t monitored apart from coaches observation. This leaves many athletes at risk, especially for high school players who cannot afford to visit a doctor every once in a while to check up on their injuries. For these athletes, they could be living with post concussion issues and don’t even known how in danger they are.

Concussions have always been around with sports, and probably always will be, there is little that can be done to get rid of them completely without ruining contact sports. That being said, these issues should be addressed as medical science improves. The NFL has been experimenting with safer helmets and other ideas along the same lines. Many MLB players have paid for helmets with better head protection so that they feel safer doing the thing that they love. Barring any breakthroughs within the next two weeks, There is no real way at the current time to end concussions without ruining the rules and integrity of the games.

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