As a junior in high school, my father was knocked out on the football field… jaw-dropping, knee-buckling, lights out cold. In practice one day, he went in low to try for a tackle on his team’s running back. The ball carrier returned the sentiment by running hard and landing a knee to his head. My dad was out long enough for the team to move practice to the other end of the field. When he woke up, two of his teammates were standing over him. They filled him in on what had happened. When he had gathered his senses, they jogged to the other end of the field and returned to practice… no smelling salt, no thought of head injuries.
During the second quarter of a high-school football game in 1996, the starting quarterback and safety on my team began acting funny. I had played with this kid since the 7th grade, and knew him to be one of the smartest people around. In the defensive huddle, he started asking “When did the second quarter start?” He repeated that question after every play, along with “When did they score a touchdown,”on both sides of the ball, for more than 8 minutes of game time. At half-time, he was properly attended to by a trainer, who took his helmet and pronounced him unfit to play. I can’t tell you how many extra hits he took. I can say that he never started at QB again. At the time, I was worried about my friend, and my team. Now, I am asking myself how I could have helped.
In a scrimmage at Los Alamitos High School (CA) three weeks ago, a defensive back named Luke Fallon limped off the field after being involved in a tackle (See link below). The Tesoro High freshman’s ankle was hurt, and it saved his life. Immediately, the trainer noticed signs of a concussion that were getting significantly worse in a short period of time. Trainer John Hanson called for an ambulance and the player was rushed to the hospital, where he needed an emergency brain operation. He was out of his coma and able to speak a few days later. Luckily, the injury was quickly diagnosed by a well educated trainer and Luke Fallon is going to live.
Concussions are the new world of football. Players are bigger, faster, and stronger than they have ever been. With the equipment becoming increasingly lighter and less protective, it is more important than ever to quickly diagnose concussions. As they are closest to the injuries, we must rely on the players to act as first responders to head injuries, followed closely by coaches and trainers. The athletes need to know what to look for. The coaches and trainers need to know what to look for. If you are an athlete, parent, trainer, or coach who does not know how to diagnose a concussion, please take the time to view the links below. They include the most up to date diagnoses chart for head injuries, a couple videos, and an article about Luke Fallon.
PDF link: the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool: http://www.wisportsconcussion.org/images/SCAT_Form.pdf
Rosanne Naunheim, M.D. Talks about diagnosis of head injuries: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JCclc5CZEI&NR=1
Video U of Michigan treatment of sports-related concussions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BKEWYcRuSM
Luke Fallon ariticle: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/fallon-264197-alexander-tesoro.html