OhioHealth Creates Video to Help Raise Awareness of the Dangers of Sports-Related Concussions

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“Ashley’s story” highlights the long-term impact of repeat concussions and need for concussion testing in student athletes

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I’ve learned that concussions are a lot more serious then I thought they were.

OhioHealth Sports Medicine Institute developed a four-minute video that examines the dangers of sports-related concussions, told through the eyes of Ashley, a life-long soccer player who decided not to play soccer her senior year of high school, after suffering three sports-related concussions in a single season.

A concussion is a brain injury that can either be caused by a hit to the head, impact from a fall, or an impact jarring the body too quickly (whiplash effect). The OhioHealth Sports Medicine team wants to inform youth athletes and parents about concussions, including their signs and symptoms.

Concussions can be hard to diagnose since the symptoms can be difficult to identify. Often a concussion is mistaken for a less serious injury, or even a simple headache. A concussion in youth sports can be even more difficult to diagnose, due to the fast-paced, sometimes chaotic nature of youth sporting events.

OhioHealth’s Sports Medicine team hopes that Ashley’s story will help inform athletes and parents about the dangers concussions pose for young athletes, particularly the dangers of repeat concussions.

Ashley has played soccer since she was two years old. One day while Ashley was playing soccer, a teammate’s chin hit Ashley’s forehead and caused her neck to snap back. Ashley felt dizzy and had headaches for about two weeks after the accident. Although she did not realize it at the time, the accident had given Ashley a concussion.

A few weeks later Ashley was playing soccer again and smacked her head on the ground. The impact resulted in another concussion, but this time Ashley did not bounce back as quickly. She even had to be helped off the field.

Finally, Ashley suffered a third concussion about a month after her second one. This time a ball hit Ashley directly in her temple. After her third concussion, Ashley’s athletic trainer told her that she would have to sit out for the rest of the season.

Unlike most other sports injuries, concussions can be hard to diagnose and are sometimes missed. This is one of the reasons why they can be so dangerous. It is critical that an athlete recognizes that they have had a concussion right away, so that they can be protected from repeated injury. A second concussion while a patient is still in recovery is dangerous because it can cause prolonged symptoms, impairment of the brain’s ability to function, and can sometimes lead to lifelong impairment of the brain. The effects of multiple concussions can have an especially big impact on a young athlete’s brain, which is still developing.

After her concussions Ashley had to sit out of her senior year of soccer. Her concussions didn’t just affect her soccer, but also her schoolwork. Studying and memorizing for classes and tests became harder for Ashley after her concussions.

Symptoms from a concussion normally last days or weeks, but if an athlete does not protect themselves from repeated injury the symptoms can last months. And the symptoms can begin to interfere with everyday life including work or school.

Ashley has since started to play soccer again. She is almost back to full health and currently is allowed to do everything except for participate in contact exercise and head the ball. Ashley believes she has learned her lesson with concussions. While she used to believe that concussions were something to bounce back from, Ashley now has a different view on them. “I’ve learned that concussions are a lot more serious then I thought they were,” she concluded.

It is important that athletes, athletic trainers, coaches, and parents are all educated on the dangers of sports related concussions – especially in youth athletics. Awareness of the dangers will make them more capable of recognizing concussion symptoms and more likely to report the injury to an athletic trainer or team doctor. This will not only allow them to get back to their sport in prime condition, but prevent brain damage that can have lifelong effects.

About OhioHealth

OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare organization serving and supported by the community. Named by Thomson Reuters as one of the 10 best healthcare systems in America three years in a row, OhioHealth has also been recognized by FORTUNE Magazine as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” six years in a row, 2007-2012!

Based in Columbus, Ohio, it is a family of 21,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, 18 hospitals, 23 health and surgery centers, home-health providers, medical equipment and health service suppliers throughout a 40-county area. OhioHealth member hospitals include Riverside Methodist Hospital, Grant Medical Center, Doctors Hospital-Columbus, Grady Memorial Hospital, Dublin Methodist Hospital, Doctors Hospital-Nelsonville, Hardin Memorial Hospital and Marion General Hospital. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.ohiohealth.com.

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Colin Yoder
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