SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – The NFL season kicks off in a matter of hours and concussions are on the minds of athletes of all ages.
It’s an injury caused by the shaking or rotating of the brain on the brain stem. In recent years, concussions have been the topic of many discussions especially in the world of sports.
Recently, the NFL paid out $765 million in a settlement with players who had severe repercussions related to head injuries.
So how can you recognize a concussion?
Dr. Zachary Mariowitz, a clinical neurophycologist with Baystate Medical Center says, “Signs of a concussion include the onset of headache, dizziness, nausea, feeling sluggish in your thinking.”
Once you’ve had one your more likely to get another. “Each time you have one there tends to be an increase statistically of the chance of you having future concussions and the recoveries themselves may be a little longer and more complicated each time,” Mariowitz explained.
Now that concussions are more recognized as a serious injury, schools and trainers have become more sensitive to them. That awareness has shown the alarming frequency of these injuries.
“We’re seeing them, I’d say at least one or two per week. I have 700 athletes between two schools so we are seeing them on a regular basis,” said Jim Blain, Director of Athletics for Chicopee Schools.
And while you might expect concussions to happen in football, hockey and lacrosse, those aren’t the only sports that put players at risk.
“We’ve had them in sports such as cross country, we’ve had some slip and fall, we’ve had them in soccer when students bump heads. There’s really no sport that’s immune,” said Blain.
There’s been a lot more awareness about concussions recently and according to the players we spoke to, it is a concern.
Riley Campbell is a quarterback for Chicopee High School, “It’s definitely a concern when you play the game, diving head to head collisions and stuff,” he said. “I’ve never gone a season without a teammate getting a concussion or having his head banged up.”
Surprisingly, Dr. Mariowitz says girls and younger children are actually slightly more at risk to sustain a concussion than older male athletes.