Brain Injury & High School Sports Associations Team Up to Bring Awareness to Concussions

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

"We've had in high school sports, a caveman attitude for years about concussions," said John Johnson, Communications Director of the MHSAA.

That caveman attitude has brought the BIAMI and MHSAA together to bring awareness to the problem of concussions in youth sports.

"It's critical that [parents] understand how important being aware of concussions is to the long term care of their child," said Michael Dabbs, President of the BIAM.

The announcement was made in front of a packed dining hall at the Lansing Center filled with brain injury specialists and medical professionals from around the state. The need for bringing awareness Johnson said, comes from the fact that most concussions are not obvious.

"About 9 out of 10 concussions are not the knocked out, knocked down, loss of consciousness kind," said Johnson.

Some symptoms of concussions include sleeplessness, sensitivity to light or sound, headaches, memory loss or concentration problems, nausea, slurred speech, dizziness and any loss of consciousness.

Dabbs said parents are best equipped to identify symptoms of a concussion because they can notice subtle symptoms of a concussion that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Dr. Christopher Abood of Lansing Neurosurgery said that young minds are particularly at risk.

"Repeated head injury has significant long term impact," said Abood. "You can develop learning disabilities, development issues and now we're seeing things like Parkinson's down the line. At a young age you're much more susceptible."

That impact caused the MHSAA to institute a rule. If an athlete is held out of the game with a concussion injury, they can't go back in the game unless a qualified medical professional on the sidelines or doctor signs off on their return. High schools violating the rule can be subject to forfeiture of wins or postseason bans.

"We have a rule, a good rule, on the athletics field," said Johnson. "Now the education can come."

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