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Concussion awareness

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High school athletes suffer concussions and head injuries every year, predominantly in football and soccer, and athletes at Jupiter High are no exception.

In recent years, Palm Beach County and Jupiter High have increased awareness on head injuries and have new protocol in place for coaches and athletes.

“Every coach and student-athlete has to watch a concussion video for awareness and proper coaching techniques. In football, better equipment and new mouth guards are being used,” said Athletic Director Steve Canning.

The increased awareness has resulted in major changes in youth sports as well. For example, new youth soccer rules prevent players 12 years old and younger from heading the ball. Using the head during soccer has been linked to concussions at a young age and to head injuries later on in life.

Similarly, the rules of high school football have also changed. “The changing of tackling techniques and all coaches made aware of the treatments and the protocol,” said Canning.

Youth football organizations have made changes in recent years to reduce head injuries, such as Pop Warner, the nation’s largest youth football organization, who announced new rules for the 2012 season limiting the type and amount of contact drills allowed during practice. Also, USA Football, the NFL’s official youth football development partner, rolled out a new set of age-specific contact drill practice plans for coaches.

“One of the biggest changes has been implementation of the ‘targeting’ penalty which is basically head-to-head contact or hitting a defenseless player above the neck area,” said new head football coach Timothy Tharp.

Additionally, coaches have been trained to “teach proper tackling techniques and to limit the amount of live contact during practices,” said Tharp.

Sophomore lacrosse and volleyball player Juliana Aiello has been diagnosed with four concussions (and may have suffered more).

“A few of them I knew when they happened… you get a pounding headache, and you will maybe throw up, and are very dizzy. Once I even got knocked out,” said Aiello.

Signs of serious head injuries include dizziness, headache, nausea, lack of focus and possibly blacking out. However, these signs may happen right away.

“Concussion symptoms can sometimes be delayed and are not always immediately detectable,” said Tharp.

Once diagnosed, Aiello, “couldn’t look at electronics for 24 hours…I was told to rest for a few weeks and was out for about a month.”

Proper headgear and safety has greatly increased in all sports. For soccer, concussion headbands are widely used to protect athletes while heading the soccer ball. In football, new helmets and mouth guards are used to protect players head and spine in contact. Baseball and softball both use helmets while batting and base-running.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Concussion awareness”

  1. Caroline BAhadourian on April 21st, 2017 3:04 pm

    Many football players will die at a very youn age from brain damages !
    It’s a fact
    But money is more important that health in the US

    [Reply]

  2. John Day on April 26th, 2017 11:16 am

    My only problem with this article is it’s lack of attention to the increased number of concussions that female athletes have become prone to in Lacrosse, Soccer, and Flag Football. With the increase in popularity, there is also an increase in concussions. Lots of research address this issue. Would have liked to see this addressed in the article.
    Thanks,
    day

    [Reply]

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Concussion awareness