It’s almost football season, so that means late nights, a lot of spirit and a lot of injuries, especially to the head. According to a recent study, the concussions sustained by high school football players are dangerous regardless of where on the head the player is hit.
The study, published in Pediatrics, found that symptoms of concussion, length of time the symptoms lasted and how long players were benched to recover were similar regardless of where the player was hit on the head.
The study was led by Dawn Comstock at the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Colorado at Denver.
“We wanted a more complete understanding of concussion in high school football,” Comstock said.
Comstock said the results were surprising since, according to previous research, the team expected to see some differences depending on where in the head a player was hit.
There has been increased concern for athletes who get impacts to the head, especially high school athletes because of the frequency and the problems that persist over the years from these injuries.
Comstock and her colleagues wanted to assess whether location of a concussion could help physicians treat and manage patients better. They found no significant differences, but they did find that players with a point of impact at the top of the head were more likely to lose consciousness.
She said that each concussion sustained by a player should be taken seriously. However, she said that this is consistent with good tackling technique from the NFL that says players should keep their heads up instead of aimed toward the opposing, running player.
“We don’t ever want our work to be used to frighten and pull kids out of sports, but this work is a kind of reminder that the coaches, parents, physicians and everyone involved need to work together to make those sports safe to play,” Comstock said.
The researchers used information from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Survey Study to examine rates of concussions among football players.
They determined that many concussions, approximately 44 percent, occurred at the front of the head while 22 percent occurred on the side.
According to the CDC, traumatic brain injuries, a group of head injuries that include concussions, contribute toward many instances of permanent disability and death.
It cautions that even a mild “‘ding” or bump to the head can be serious. Some symptoms of concussions reported by athletes are headaches or pressure in the head, nausea, dizziness, blurry vision, sensitivity to light or noise and confusion.
Anyone exhibiting signs of concussions should consult a doctor or healthcare professional to ensure they are ready to return to play.