Concussions hinder athletic and academic performance

Sofia Georgaklis, Sports Editor

Every year, approximately 3.8 million Americans suffer a concussion as a result of sport and physical activity, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. A concussion is a mild type of brain injury. This brain trauma can cause severe headaches and dizziness as well as an end to an athlete’s season. It can leave them unable to complete schoolwork and concentrate. According to the NATA, an adolescent athlete who has suffered from a concussion is 1.5 times more likely to sustain another, and those who have had two concussions are three times more likely to experience another.

Although there are efforts made at the high school to combat concussion injury and to educate athletes about prevention, concussions remain a serious issue as they impede students ability to complete schoolwork and compete in athletics.

Freshmen George Ericsson sustained a severe concussion in April while playing basketball which still affects him eight months later. According to Ericsson, the concussion had a big impact on his schoolwork as well as his athletics.

“I had to miss 3 months of school, the rest of my basketball season and my whole baseball season. I really couldn’t do much at all,” Ericsson said. “I still have to take medicine for my concussion.”

Junior Eva Morgan got a concussion by getting hit with a softball in April. Her concussion created several difficulties regarding schoolwork and her injury continues to be an issue eight months after her injury. Morgan played on the high school volleyball, basketball and softball teams before sustaining her concussion.

“After I got my concussion I was out for the rest of the year,” Morgan said. “I had to drop several classes this year and I still miss a lot of class. In total, I’ve missed a little more than a quarter of a school year. I ended up getting partial credit for most of my classes, either three-fourths or half credit depending on the work I was able to make up.”

Morgan said that although she can run and exercise, she does not know when she will be able to play contact sports again.

“Because of my concussion, I’m not allowed to play sports for the time being, which is a big deal for me because I play three sports,” Morgan said. “I’ll be able to play again after I’m symptom free for a month, which will be a long time from now.”

Although Ericsson said that he thinks his concussion will not affect how he plays sports after he recovers, Morgan said it will extremely affect her play post-recovery.

“l’ll be so scared to get a concussion again when I start playing. It will definitely impact how I play,” Morgan said. “I definitely won’t play as well.”

The athletics department requires that all athletes must have completed a concussion test in the last two years prior to beginning their athletic season.

The concussion test is a 45 minute to hour long computer based exam that tests basic cognitive functions. The test establishes a baseline score to refer to when the athlete takes the test a second time, after experiencing a possible concussion. Although athletes are required to take it, few actually complete the course, according to sophomore Sophia Maclean.

Maclean missed three weeks of school due to a concussion incurred during the soccer season.

“I think everyone knows what a concussion is, but not many players are as educated as they should be about how to prevent concussions and how serious they can be,” Maclean said. “They shouldn’t be considered minor injuries, but they are sometimes seen that way.”

Sophomore Nathan Comerchero said he believes it is important that athletes are educated about concussions so that they can be aware of what symptoms indicate a possible head injury.

“Sometimes people get concussions and don’t even know they’ve gotten one. They keep playing because they don’t know they have one, which makes it even worse,” Comerchero said. “The effects of a concussion can be really serious for players and their schoolwork, so I think the most important thing we can do to prevent concussions from getting so bad is making sure we all know exactly what they are.”