Concussions can cause serious long-term brain damage in football players. They are the most common types of injury and any football player, irrespective of being a pro or a college student will suffer thousands of concussions during the course of his career. While most players would not feel concern over an injury anywhere other than the back of the head, new research shows that irrespective of where the player gets hit on the head, concussions can be serious.
“We were actually a little bit surprised. Based on some of our prior research, we expected to see some differences. We wanted a more complete understanding of concussion in high school football,” lead researcher Dawn Comstock told Reuters Health. Comstock and her colleagues from the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Colorado at Denver analyzed data taken from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study. The data pertained to 2,526 concussions suffered by football players during the 2008-2009 and 2012-2013 seasons.
According to the data, 45 percent of all concussions were due to a hit to the front of the head by another player. The second and third most common causes were hits to the side and back of the head. The least common cause of a concussion was a hit to the top of the head.
The research found that irrespective of where the athlete suffered a hit, the symptoms, the duration of the symptoms, and the turnaround time for the athletes to get back to play were relatively the same. But athletes who got hit on the top of their heads were most likely to lose consciousness. "We can't predict which athletes are more likely to have more severe symptoms or worse outcomes based only on how their injuries occur," Comstock said.
Comstock also added that concussions are serious business, and it’s the impact and not the number of concussions that matter. "Every clinician needs to take every concussion very seriously. What we can say is that these findings definitely support the call to take the head out of the game if you will."
Comstock hopes that with these findings coaches, parents, doctors, and teachers will educate young players about the importance of improved tackling methods to ensure safety in the game.
More About Concussions
During a concussion the brain gets rattled to such an extent inside the head that it may cause traumatic brain injury. Several athletes have reported symptoms of headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, memory problems, photosensitivity, etc. after a concussion.
Once the brain has suffered a concussion, it's prudent to allow it time to heal. Receiving concussions in the same area again before the brain recovers increases the chance of future mental health illness, including a progressive degenerative disease similar to dementia called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Sadly, not only do players not report concussions but even get back to play risking their lives in the process.
Source: Kerr Z, Collins C, Mihalik J, Marshall S, Guskiewicz K, Comstock D. Impact Locations and Concussion Outcomes in High School Football Player-to-Player Collisions. Pediatrics. 2014.