Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
With September in full swing, Houston is wrapped up in all the drama of football season! Along with the Friday night lights comes the risk for concussion. Every year around this time, I like to bring up concussions and the health risks they can pose – not just to football players – but athletes in a wide variety of sports. This is a must-read for all Houston-area football players and parents.
What Is a Concussion?
Simply put, a concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which means that the brain has been jarred within the skull. Concussions can result in some minor symptoms, like headache, or cause severe symptoms, such as complete disorientation and repetitive vomiting.
Concussions are not necessarily associated with a lack of consciousness. As Dr. Carayannopoulos shared with us last month, fewer than one in 10 people with a concussion lose consciousness. Reference her blog post to learn more about how to determine when it’s safe to play after a concussion.
3 Strategies for Minimizing Your Risk of Concussion
Generally speaking, there are at least three things football players can do to minimize their risk of concussion – in both practice and gameplay.
- Use the right equipment. Wearing the proper protective gear for all situations that involve full-contact play is essential. Concussion can occur while practicing with a teammate just as easily as it can in gameplay. And, just to clarify, the appropriate equipment on its own isn’t enough. Make sure that your equipment is also in good shape and fits properly. Though helmets cannot prevent concussions, a well-fitted helmet can reduce your overall risk.
- Learn how to properly tackle. Secondly, be sure you know how to tackle properly. Tackling headfirst is a natural mistake many beginners make. This type of tackling this can lead to very dangerous head injuries. Always tackle using the front of the shoulder, keeping the head up. Most football coaches will drill players repeatedly on proper form. However, you should feel comfortable asking a coach or trainer to work with you on safe technique if you have any reservations.
- Communicate with coaches and trainers. Finally, parents and football players should both keep the lines of communication open with coaches and trainers. If you think you may have suffered a concussion, step off the field and get checked out before continuing play. If you’ve had one concussion, you can be at a greater risk for having a second, which could result in much more severe symptoms or even death.
Concussion? See a Sports Medicine Doctor Near You In Houston
If you think your high school football athlete may have sustained a concussion, get care. Yo can schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.