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Are You Scared of Concussions in Youth Sports?

We all know about the head injuries in the NFL, but do they scare you in youth athletics?

We all play sports and for the most part we understand the risks associated with the games we love. In today’s society we hear things like, “you have to play hurt” or, “play through the pain,” and I have always admired stories of athletes of yesteryear who played with horrific injuries and sacrificed their bodies for the betterment of the team’s overall cause.

Situations where Ronnie Lott had his finger amputated so he wouldn’t miss any time in 1986, or Willis Reed taking a very large needle to dull the pain of a muscle tear in 1970 were bedtime stories my father passed down to me and made me wish that one day my exploits would stand up next to these legends.

Playing with a sprained ankle or a bruised knee are one thing, but today is a new age and now we have technology that shows us that we could seriously affect our lives with head injuries we sustain in peewee sports.

High schools around the area have begin implementing ImPact Testing to help the staff determine an athlete’s ability to return to play after suffering a concussion. Tests like these have been used in college and professional sports for years, but finally the technology has made it into high schools as well. Rye High School started using it in 2009 and other schools, such as Pearl River, tested it out more recently. 

"It is really a tool to help in the effort to identify and better manage concussions sustained by student ahtletes," said Pearl River Director of Athletics Todd Santabarbara. "I think we have become a great deal more conscious. People are becoming more educated (about concussions)."

“A head injury is a serious thing,” said Steven Ricciardi a sophomore on the Army football team who suffered a concussion in practice earlier this year.  “Concussions can happen in any sport, you just always have to be aware.”

In the NFL there have been notable players who have committed suicide by shooting themselves in the chest, presumably so they can donate their brains to science. The premature deaths of Dave Duerson and Junior Seau have sent shockwaves through the league, and leave several players questioning what awaits them on the other side of retirement.

New York Jet linebacker Bart Scott recently told the New York Daily News that he doesn’t want his 7-year-old son to play football because of the threat of head injuries. Scott even went as far to say that he is discouraging his son.

“I don’t want my son to play football,” said the Jet. “I play football so he won’t have to. With what is going on, I don’t know if it’s really worth it.”

Scott isn’t the only player who feels this way. Kurt Warner has also stated he would prefer it if his boys stayed off the gridiron. Scott' and Warner’s sons may turn to another sport but several other young athletes will put on helmets and cleats and hit the turf for football season. 

Does the risk of head injuries in youth sports scare you? 

Exactly June 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM
ignorance is bliss.
Lenny Nathan June 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM
This has become a much more serious issue than in the past. The size of participants, the sttrength and speed have all increased over the years. Statistics do show significant increases in these serious injuries. As such, there is also an increase in another form of injury that somehow does not get the same attention. That is the death from cardiac arrest of many yong athletes. Without going into to much detail about what cardiac arrest is (many believe it is the same as a heart attack but it is completely unrelated) many young athlets die particularly from blows to the chest and often from cardiac abnormalities that cause ventricular fibrillation. Another tern for suddden cardiac arrest is sudden death. Whereas about 10% of heart attack victims nationally die when stricken almost 90% of sudden cardiac arrest victims die. This can be reduced to 50% if people would get themselves out there to learn CPR. In addition we need more stringent guidelines which would enforce Little Leagues and many public places to have AED's (automated electronic defibrillators) in case of cardiac arrest emergencies. In NYS, since 2002 when Louis' Law was passed, 43 lives have been saved by AED's in Public Schools which since 2002 have been required to have devices on site.
Theresa Brick June 11, 2012 at 01:13 PM
As a nurse, I cared for many patients over 20 years. A few were young people who became brain damaged &/or paralysed from sports, mainly diving,and from "heading "the ball in soccer,which seems like the worst move anyone could make! So to single out football is quite short -sighted. To answer your question, yes,some sports & other activities young people do scare me about head injuries. When my young daughter wanted to play soccer, I.asked the coach if they taught these elementary school kids to head the ball. They said yes, and the ignorance of how dangerous this is just astounded me! My girl was so disappointed when I said she couldn't play, but I knew I was doing the right thing. I'm not the kind of parent who frets over every "what if? ",but too many young people do suffer head injuries in many different ways.
Head Case June 11, 2012 at 01:59 PM
You know, taking a look at all these negative comments is not only disturbing, it is insulting. I have been playing sports my entire life, specifically rugby, which has basically put me on the front lines for injuries to every part of my body, and it is terrifying to think about the kind of permanent injury I am doing to myself every time I step out on that field. To belittle the people who are playing these sports, and writing about them as well, is disgusting to me. Chances are, you sat on the sidelines in high school watching all of the athletes put their bodies on the line, and wishing you were ballsy enough to do the same. Sports are dangerous, but we play because we love. We also play knowing the risks, and we love regardless. Don't downplay possible sports-related injuries because you yourself were never good enough to be put on the field. Leave your rude, unnecessary commentary at the door. This is a huge issue in the sports world today, and if it weren't, we wouldn't be talking about it, now would we?
CreaseCrumpleCram June 18, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Something to remember as you aspire to be sportswriter someday, Mark. Regurgitating topics that have beaten to death in the press prior, not a ground breaking concept for a little blog like this. And, enough with the polling. Write something you're proud of that might attract readers who aren't here point out how cheesy and shallow your posts are.

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