BAKERSFIELD, Calif, - Hall Ambulance is trying to get the message out that concussion problems leading to long term injury and death are alive and well.
“It's ok to sit a kid out maybe for a game,” Dr. Ron Ostrom the medical director for Hall told 23ABC at the ninth annual concussion education symposium on Wednesday, “maybe for a week instead of a kid sitting out the rest of his life.”
While that way of thinking may seem like common sense, it wasn't that way just a few short years ago.
“It used to be that if you get your bell-rung,” Ostrom added, “you can't walk, throw up forget your name, you get back in the game.”
“As a player it wasn't a big deal,” BHS head coach Paul Golla explained, “nobody knew 20 years from now what would happen.”
Well, thanks to research and education, we know now.
Dr. Ann Mckee of Boston University spoke to congress about the long term symptoms of repeated concussions in 2009.
“He would ask to rent a movie he'd already seen,” McKee said describing the behavior of former NFL player John Grimsley who’s brain she examined, “he had trouble assembling his tax records, shopping alone and understanding television, he developed a shorter fuse and began getting angry and verbally abusive over seemingly trivial issues.”
That harsh reality prompted the NFL and now the CIF to create rule changes. Beginning in 2015, limits to full tackling and 90 minute practices will take place. BHS head coach Paul Golla says his team got the heads up a long time ago.
“We maybe have 20-30 minutes of full contact in a week and towards the middle of the season it's zero.”
Research shows the coaches aren't the problem, the athlete's biggest threat are themselves. When asked, 55% of players said a concussed "star" athlete should return to a title game. Just 94% of parents and 98% of coaches said no way.
“When it comes to brain injury, there’s nothing tough about that,” Golla said, “you are done, a life is way more important than being tough or winning games.
“We are in the kid business,” Liberty head football coach said, “we want to see our kids be productive citizens in our community and the only way to do that is to keep their health first.”
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