The dangers of concussions

By: Ian Margol Email
By: Ian Margol Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) With every contact sport comes the possibility of injury, but when it comes to concussions, recent studies are finding more and more instances of irreversible and life changing damage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a concussion is a mild form of a traumatic brain injury and while they're very rarely life-threatening, their long-term affects can be.

With this increased research, leagues around the country have stepped up their efforts to curb concussions with proper education and training.

"Watching after the kids well being, that should be first and foremost in all coaches," says Glenn Barrett, whose son plays football. "It's what's best for the kids, not what's best for the sport or the school."

Parents of athletes say they always think about their child's well-being on the field, but dad's like Jeff Grady say they trust the advancements in equipment technologies to keep them safe.

"The helmets have improved over the years and so I'm always concerned but confident that the boys are safe," says Grady.

But Grady knows you can't just rely on pads, proper mechanics can mean the difference between a solid tackle and a life-changing injury.

"From when these boys are all growing up in middle school football they're taught to tackle with their head up," he says.

Athletic trainers and doctors look for tell-tale signs that can alert them of a concussion.

Headaches, weakness, nausea poor speech, drowsiness and pupil dilation can appear immediately or may come on several minutes after the injury occurs.

If a person is having convulsions or seizures, cannot remember people or places, is getting increasingly confused or restless, is acting strange or gets knocked unconscious, they should be rushed to the emergency room immediately.

Parents should also be aware that with each head injury, the athlete becomes more prone to having another one. But even with the chance of injury, parents still sacrifice peace of mind for love of the game.

"That's just part of the risk that he takes and that's part of the risk that we accept for him playing the game... that's just part of football," says Barrett.

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