Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Knowledge Does Not Mean Understanding

A diagram of the forces on the brain in concussion
Image via Wikipedia
I have written before about the horrible effects that concussions can have on any individual. The issue today though is that I have come to an understanding that concussions are simply not taken seriously with most of society. I came to this conclusion after having a discussion with my mother the other day about a conversation she had with a parent of a student athlete.
We were talking like we normally do each day, just discussing school and news of home. She brought to my attention a conversation she had that day about a parent who's child had recently received a concussion. Now my mother has seen what ill effects years of multiple concussions have had on me, and naturally she is quite concerned when she hears of someone else receiving them. The part of the conversation that concerned her the most was the parents lack of any sort of emotion regarding their child having a concussion. They simply just brushed off the thought, saying "children get them all the time, no big deal." After she told this to me I was quite upset, because in fact the younger an individual is when the receive a concussion, the longer it takes for them to recover. Most researchers believe this to be due to the lack of maturity that the brain has at the time of injury. Now I basically stopped growing at eighteen years of age, and when I received my last severe concussion I was twenty-one. Now my brain is fully matured, but it did take me a better part of a year to fully recovery. I still have residual effects like short term memory loss, difficulty processing words, vertigo, and headaches just to name a few. These I do not consider major compared to the issues that used to effect me. Now those "small side effects" may sound like a concern to some, correct? If the answer is yes, then the issue of concussions within children should be taken more seriously then it is, because with children these side effects could be even greater! They could in fact permanently damage a child's future! I have given great thought to trying to further people's understanding of how concussions can impact a life. My Grandfather and father always tell me, "You only get one mind, you only get one body. Take care of them, because they need to last you a lifetime." I feel as though my future as an educator is going to take on a larger role than just teaching students how to become physically educated individuals. I really want to be an advocate for making people aware about the harmful effects concussions can have, especially on children. This way parents like the one I described will understand the dangers, and how to be proactive against getting concussions. 
Knowledge about concussions is one thing, but understanding what they are and the impact that they can have a person is another! Understanding, and being proactive is the key to a brighter future!

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