According to a leading doctor in sports medicine, the bigger the play the bigger the thrill in sports, but that big hit can come with a big risk.
Dr. Cynthia Labella, medical director of the Institute of Sports Medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago said that, “I can say that about 50% of those injuries are concussions. I see on average every week between 10 and about 15 new concussions.”
Concussions can result in problems that include irritability, memory loss, and depression. In rare cases, those problems can lead some athletes, like former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson, to take their own lives.
“He was exposed to repetitive hits to the head. He described the suffering to me and my family in a letter he left to us prior to taking his own life,” said Tregg Duerson, Dave’s son.
Chicago state senator Kwame Raoul said that,”it’s also about how you return to the classroom and how you accommodate for the fact that somebody who’s suffered such an injury is impacted in the classroom.”
Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has authored legislation that would raise awareness about sports concussions. “This is something that is desperately needed in high school, elementary and grade schools,” said Rep. Ben Arredondo, D-Tempe, who signed on to Crandall’s bill as a primary sponsor.
Under the proposed bill, starting in 2016, anyone hosting a youth athletic activity would be required to offer an annual statement regarding concussions to their athletes and parents or guardians. This statement would include information addressing the signs and symptoms, the proper protocol for returning an injured athlete back to play, the means of obtaining proper medical care, and the dangers of concussions.
Jennifer Loredo, a government relations consultant for the Arizona Education Association, which supports the bill, said the measure would also protect coaches when student athletes are pushing to get back in the game. “If a student was to encounter a hard hit … we believe that coaches are already pulling them out,” she said. “This is just an extra mechanism to raise awareness so coaches are looking for what might be head trauma.”
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