Five minutes ago, I asked my younger sister who was playing in the Super Bowl. She answered, “Oh, I think it’s Madonna!” And THAT’s how into football my family is – we care more about the half-time show than the actual game (don’t worry though, I looked it up and now know it’s GIANTS versus PATRIOTS).

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Though the outcome of the Super Bowl really doesn’t concern me, concussions do, since they account for an alarming number of football-related injuries. According to Dr. Gail Rosseau,”The annual incidence of football-related concussion in the United States is estimated at 300,000, and nearly 45,000 football-related head injuries were serious enough to be treated at U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2009″ (Bloomberg Businessweek).

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury. A concussion occurs when your brain hits your skull. This could be caused by a number of incidents, such as a bad fall, a car accident, or a tackle in a football game. Concussions are tricky because some people don’t show any symptoms of having one, while others might suffer from memory loss, dizziness, and nausea. Concussions can be extremely dangerous, though many young athletes do not take them seriously.

Young athletes often continue to play sports despite harmful injuries. According to WebMd, young athletes who have already suffered from two concussions are more likely to have:

  • memory problems
  • headaches, dizziness
  • sleep issues (too much sleep/too little sleep)

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, discussing his documentary about concussions and young football players in an interview with Sports Illustrated, said that “the best way to heal the brain is to essentially let it rest. No screen time. No texting. No reading for a few days. One of the players that we followed in the documentary was trying to exercise and lift weights during his healing period, and that’s a no-no. You really have to rest your body and rest your brain. It’s only when you’re completely symptom-free when you should be allowed back in the game” (Sports Illustrated). 

**Being active too soon may make the brain injury more serious.**

In the future, it may lead to a disease that resembles dementia. According to WebMd, “An evolving body of research has linked athletes’ repeated concussions to long-term brain damage, including a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that mimics dementia.”

If you think you have a concussion, you must see a doctor. Some characteristics of a concussion are:

  • extreme drowsiness
  • slurred speech
  • enlarged pupils
  • nausea
  • unconsciousness
  • headaches

Though you might not believe it now, safety comes first. Also, be sure to check out Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary called Big Hits, Broken Dreams.


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