Archived Story

Concussions topic of discussion for BRHS coaching staff

Published 10:09am Monday, August 12, 2013

When it comes to concussions, you never can be too safe.
The coaches and athletic trainers at Benjamin Russell High School are aware of this and spent this past Thursday further educating themselves on how to better diagnose and treat their athletes when they suffer concussions.
Dr. Paul Goldhagen, M.D., F.A.A.O.S., orthopedic surgeon and sports physician at Bone & Joint Specialists, P.C., spoke to the coaches and athletic trainers of BRHS about causes of head injuries and ways to ensure that athletes are guarded against future injuries.
“Concussions are caused by rotational acceleration,” Goldhagen said during his presentation.
Rotational acceleration occurs when during a collision, the impact causes the head to turn around its center of gravity. Rotational force is considered to be the major factor in concussions and their severity.
Goldhagen also explained the affects a concussion can have on the brain. He said that athletes who receive concussions are more likely to receive concussions later in life.
“The key to concussions is the mismatch of supply and demand for energy use in the brain,” he said. “This makes athletes more susceptible to future symptoms and head injuries.”
Data shows that the younger athletes are at greater risk for concussion. Additional factors that increase the risk for concussions include having a history of head injuries or being diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
“You’re four times more likely to get another concussion if you’ve had one previously,” Goldhagen said. “They become easier to get.”
During the presentation, Goldhagen also discussed how long it takes an athlete to recover from a concussion and what happens to an athlete upon being concussed.
“Studies have shown that it could take up to two weeks to heal from this,” Goldhagen said. “I remember one case where an athlete got a concussion, and his condition deteriorated minute by minute. It just got worse and worse. He complained of a whopper of a headache. He actually ran one more play, and he didn’t remember scoring a touchdown during it.”
If athletes receive concussions, Goldhagen and BRHS athletic trainers discussed proper protocol for coaches to follow.
“The main treatment is rest, from a cognitive and physical standpoint,” Goldhagen said. “That might mean keeping the kids out of school, or lightening their homework load, or not letting them watch television, play video games or get on the computer.”
Above all, Goldhagen stressed it was better for the coaches to be cautious.
“If you remember anything from what I’ve been saying, remember that when in doubt, sit them out,” he said.
BRHS athletic director and head volleyball coach Pam Robinson agreed with Goldhagen, saying the priority for coaches is to preserve the health of the athletes at all costs.
“We want to make sure the kids have as good of a life as they can outside of sport,” Robinson said. “So we’re going to err on the side of taking care of the kids. If one of my players says she’s hurt, then she’s hurt.”