Earlier this week I wrote about some of the risks athletes face as they prepare for and compete in the fall sports season. Among these was the risk of concussion, especially among football players (although all sports carry a risk of concussions and other injuries).
Coincidentally, an article in the New York Times this week reported on the hazards of athletes returning to play after sustaining a concussion. Specifically, not taking adequate “rest” time after a concussion doubles the recovery time.
Worse, sustaining a second concussion before the first has resolved can lead to catastrophic consequences. This is called second impact syndrome, and is a major reason why athletes who have a suspected concussion must be evaluated by an athletic trainer or team physician before they can return to play.
Unfortunately, many athletes don’t report that they have symptoms that suggest a concussion may have occurred so that can continue to play. This highlights the importance of educating players and coaches about the signs and symptoms of concussion and the seriousness of continuing to play with a suspected concussion.
This is also a reason why certified athletic trainers should be present at every practice and game. The immediate evaluation of head injuries (and other injuries, too) is essential to prevent further damage and long-term consequences.
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