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Head’s Up: It’s Football Season and Athletes Need to Play it Safe

Concussions are serious, life-threatening injuries that befall 1.6 to 3.8 million athletes in the U.S. each year.

Last year in Geneva, several concussion injuries were reported during Geneva High School’s football season, and on average, at least one player in a single football game will get a concussion.

Athletes playing other sports are not exempt from this injury, either. Soccer, baseball, cycling, hockey, sledding, skiing and horseback riding—virtually all recreational activities—pose a risk. Even something simple such as playing on a playground can result in the event of head injury.

The American Academy of Family Physicians defines a concussion, also referred to as mild traumatic brain injury, as “acute trauma-induced alteration of mental functioning lasting fewer than 24 hours with or without preceding loss of consciousness.” AAFP also states that 20 percent of high school football players and 10 percent of college football players will sustain concussion(s) each season.

Concussions can be very serious injuries, but often are misdiagnosed or not recognized. Signs and symptoms of a concussion may occur immediately or even seven to 10 days after the brain trauma occurred.

Common Symptoms of Concussions:

  • Headache 
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred or Incoherent Speech
  • Inability to follow Instructions/Lack of Concentration
  • Imbalance

If it appears that a player has a concussion, he or she should be immediately removed from the contest. Depending upon the grade or degree of the concussion, some players may be able to return after a few days, while others may stay sidelined for up to one month or more.

Prevention:

  • WEAR A HELMET!
  • Use up-to-date, safe and effective equipment
  • AVOID contact sports

A Few Concussion Statistics (American Journal of Sports Medicine)

  • 60 percent of all concussions are football-related
  • 20 percent of all High School athletes experience concussions each season
  • 22-40 percent of all injured cyclists have concussions
  • 60 percent of all bicycle-related deaths are because of head injury

doctors are urging Genevans to “play it safe” this year and be cognizant of head injuries. 

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