Concussions: steps must be taken before athletes can return to activity

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT)- According to the Center for Disease Control, over a million concussions happen every year.

ECU’s sports medicine team takes certain steps before they diagnose a concussion, and even more before the athlete can return to activity.

Concussions can happen anytime, during any sport, and at any level. They are considered an injury to the brain. Concussions can be caused by a number of things including a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. There are certain things required after someone is hit.

Head athletic trainer with ECU football, Jake Moore, says, “if we suspect a concussions occurred we immediately remove the player from participation.”

At ECU, the sports medicine staff has a list of things they do in order to diagnose a concussion. First they administer a sideline assessment. Then the athlete goes through a series of tests. The first one, measures memory comprehension and reaction time. The second test assess balance.

“There’s four tests with the bio-sway two stable surface tests, one with the eyes open and one with the eyes closed,” Moore said.

The teams physician will then analyze the results and determine if the athlete does in fact have a concussion. If the athlete does have a concussion trainers advise them to rest their bodies and their brains.

Moore said, “a concussion is an injury to the brain, so I tell the guys here if you injure your hamstring you’re not going to continue to run on it or your going to make it worse so, when you have an injury to the brain you have to rest it.”

Once an athlete is symptom free, they start physical activity again.

“We gradually return them back to exercise, we start light, and progress as they tolerate, making sure that they maintain symptom free,” Moore said.

Trainers say no concussion is the same, and the recovery process is different for everyone.

J.H. Rose’s athletic trainer, Ben Morgan, says high school athletes have similar concussion procedures when compared to college athletics.

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