Concussions and Young Athletes — its not the time to act invincible!

February 18, 2009

First things first, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you may have noticed a change in the blog title. Before it was “Chris Brown’s blog on Strength Training and Nutrition”, now its “Chris Brown’s blog on Enhancing Athletic Performance in the Gym”. The reason for the change was simply my realization of why I really began to pursue a career in the fitness industry. I’ll share that story tomorrow most likely.

Second, seeing everyone at SST today was awesome!! The whole crew there has been nothing but supportive of me as I’ve developing as a trainer and coach, so its always great to see them!

Alright with that appetizers out of the way, its time to digest the main course!

Interestingly I was speaking this afternoon with one of the athletes I’ve coached at SST over the past 2 summers abd found out that early in the winter he had sustained a concussion. He then said that he was unable to compete for quite a while because of post-concussion symptoms. Then the kicker came: he stated that if he would’ve been told that he was unable to compete in competitions much longer, he would’ve just competed anyway.

This is exactly why I found Chris Nowinski’s presentation at the seminar last weekend so necessary for anyone involved in youth sports to hear! There has to be a change with the “act tough” culture in youth sports — especially with respect to head/brain injuries. It’s admirable that these young athletes are so dedicated to their sport, but at the same time, recovery from a concussion needs to look at the long-term benefit to the athlete not just whats going to be beneficial for the current competitive season.

This of course would be easier if athletes understood when a hard hit was more than that. A study Chris looked at at SLI (Sport Legacy Institute) stated that “less than 10% of concussions are being reported to athletic trainers”. To find the reasons for this, the researchers when straight to the athletes…here were the results:

Why concussions weren’t reported:

  • Did not think it was serious enough – 66%
  • Did not want to leave the game – 41%
  • Did not know it was a concussion – 36%
  • Did not want to let down teammates – 22%

66% of high school football players who didn’t report a concussion did so because they thought it wasn’t serious enough to be a concussion!

To me, its just amazing how we know so little about concussions. Needless to say there’s a need to educate athletes and their coaches and parents so that these injuries can be treated properly each time instead of once in a while when the symptoms appear severe/obvious enough.

For any of you that played contact sports (or still play), how would the number of concussions you’ve had change if you considered the ones that you thought weren’t serious enough?? I’d be interested to hear about that — a little impromtu poll — please share you estimate/story below!



One Response to “Concussions and Young Athletes — its not the time to act invincible!”

  1. Patrick Says:

    Hey Chris,
    Great seeing you at SST today!
    My girl friend has suffered a number of concussions (more than 10) and 4 while we have been together. One thing that we have both noticed is that the recovery time is increasing and the symptoms of post concussion syndrom are getting more severe. Aside from her impaired ability to concentrate in the days and weeks following the concussion, she suffers from intense mood swings (going from an almost manic happy state to a deeply depressed state. She knows it isn’t real (in that she knows she isn’t actually depressed) but the exprience is intense and she feels REALLY unhappy.
    She is an athletic therapy student and she performs concussion assessements on every athlete she works with who gets a solid bang to their head. She reports the same thing that you write – almost all of the athletes believe they are fine and can continue to play and some of them argue with her decision to pull them from playing.
    Athletes want to play and they are committed to their teams. When the injury isn’t obvious there is a tendency to assume there wasn’t one.

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