Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Price Paid

What is the price one must pay in order to be the best at their sport? Most athletes begin sports at a young age and for many once college, or even high school is over that is the end of their athletic career. Only a chosen one percent of individuals will ever have an athletic career beyond their mid twenties. Technology is advancing each day within the world of sporting equipment. Lighter, stronger, more efficient gear for sport is being invented each day. This allows athletes to play harder and quicker! One thing though is not advancing so quickly. This is the human body. The human body has limits to how hard it can be pushed and through proper training these limits can be stretched, but inevitably a breaking point will be reached.

I feel as though this is the reason as to why concussions within sports are becoming such a serious issue.I have had first hand experience with the ill effects of concussions, and it was probably the worst life changing event in my life. It brought me from a powerful, joking, loving individual to a weak, withdrawn, and bitter person. I am somewhat better from it now. I still suffer effects like loss of memory, motion sickness, and a sensation of what I can only describe as looking at the world from behind a sound proof mirror. For almost a year I felt as though I was watching myself from outside of my own body, not only watching myself suffer, but the ones around me suffer. I could tell that my burden had become a burden for them as well. I thought I would never get better, and that this was going to be how I would feel for the rest of my life. The feeling of normalcy was one I had almost forgotten, I knew it existed but would never be in my reach again. This eventually changed though and I am slowly returning to the person I once was. I feel for the individual within the video of "Concussions and Sports." I know exactly how she feels having a dedication to a sport that she does not want to give up, as well as the social impact she is suffering due to her injury. These are all effects I suffered through. She needs to understand though that it comes a time when your personal safety and health must supersede that of everything else. 
When an individual goes back into a sport having already suffered a concussion they can receive what is called second impact syndrome. This is where another concussion is obtained before the previous injury has healed. This can result in severe brain injury, and in severe cases death. In Montreal Canada, concussions have become a severe issue with the sport of hockey. Resulting from an incident where an athlete was put into a game before having sufficient time to heal, and consequently suffering a blow causing severe brain injury, the Lystedt Law was developed. This law states that no athlete should return to game play that is suspected, or showing signs of a concussion until a medical practitioner has cleared them. I feel as though this is the correct way to go about treating concussions in sports. Also a technique that I have learned about to diagnose injury within athletes is the Opto-Jump system. This measures an individuals gate, and by doing so a proper time in which athletes reenter sports can be determined.
Concussions are a tragic occurrence, it is our job as future coaches and educators to be understanding of these situations and try to prevent them from occurring. The more aware we are of this growing problem, the more proactive we can be from having it ever occur in the first place. 

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