The Hidden Danger of Concussions

The Hidden Danger of Concussions

The CDC estimates that between 1.6 million to 3.6 million concussions occur every year.

Concussions have been more prevalent in the news recently, with the topic brought forth in the 2015 movie Concussion about the danger of concussions in the NFL.

Elise Lang, a sophomore at Wilde Lake, who has spent the year studying concussions in her G/T Research class, is researching how parents, students and coaches perceive concussions. According to Elise, concussions in sports are not taken seriously enough, and “athletes are two or three times more likely to get a concussion than regular students,” said Elise.

“In recent years, concussions are starting to be taken more seriously,” said Elise. “It was at first disregarded because people thought that since you cannot see it, it doesn’t matter.”

However, Elise believes that people need to pay more attention to concussions because of their long term effects.

“It can affect someone in the long term by being paralyzed or dead later in life because they didn’t pay attention to any of the pain they were having or the fact that they had a brain injury in the first place,” said Elise.

In fifth grade, Elise was riding her bike down a hill when she slammed into a car. She experienced headaches and had a difficult time focusing. When she went to the doctor, they diagnosed her with a mild concussion.  Elise became interested in concussions because of that experience.

Currently Elise cheers for Wilde Lake. “With cheer I am catching people who are falling above my head, so I have to make sure I am always paying attention to what is happening.  It is now like knowing my surroundings at all times.”

This is junior Victoria Morgan’s third year playing field hockey for Wilde Lake. She got her first concussion this past season during a competition. After her concussion, Victoria was in and out of school for two weeks, struggling to catch up because she had problems concentrating and staying awake in class.

“I was playing field hockey and I had the ball. The girl that was defending me crashed into me and we both fell. After I got off the field my head hurt really bad and I was dizzy,” said Victoria. “For the next two weeks, I was in and out of school because I couldn’t concentrate and I was falling asleep in class. It was awful. Everyone should strictly follow doctor’s orders. I didn’t and that is why it took me longer to heal.”

Band student Caroline Boone was on a field trip loading drums onto a school bus when she got a concussion. Sophomore Isabela Rey had turned around to jump onto the back of the bus while Caroline was bending over to help her up.  When Isabela jumped, her head slammed into Caroline’s jaw knocking Caroline backwards, giving them both concussions.

“I determined that I had a concussion by the fact that I was dizzy and my vision was blurry,” said Caroline, “[focusing] was really hard, there is this pressure in your head that gets worse whenever you try to concentrate on anything. It’s frustrating.”

Like Victoria, Caroline struggled with the amount of schoolwork that built up and focusing while trying to return to everyday activities.

Elise realized through her research that we need to start breaking the mindset that concussions are not important and focus on how to better help those with a concussion.

According to Elise, people are not supportive of those who have been diagnosed with a concussion and are attempting to keep up with their work loads and returning to activities.

Elise explains that precautions need to be taken with concussions. “If you think you might have a concussion, I would definitely go see a doctor. You are more prone to concussions if you have had one in the past. When you are in high school your brain is still developing so if there is any sort of trauma, it can leave that area vulnerable.”