The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

August 16, 2013

Let’s be more vigilant, serious about concussions during this football season

ENID, Okla. — Across northwest Oklahoma, teen boys are strapping on helmets and putting on pads in preparation for football season.

We love gridiron action as much as anyone, but let’s be extra careful about concussions.

Football is at the top of the list of rising concussions in high school sports, with an estimated 60,000 annually, according to the PBS investigative program “FRONTLINE.”

The TV program reported about the discovery of a degenerative mental disease in the brain of Owen Thomas. The 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania football player had committed suicide, and researchers found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in his brain.

“It has totally changed what I thought about this game,” researcher Dr. Ann McKee said on the “FRONTLINE” program. “Anybody who’s playing the game, this could happen; this could be the result.”

The documentary “The Smartest Team,” currently airing on OETA-TV, also is raising awareness about the serious issue of concussions.

It focuses on six pillars of concussion risk management described by MomsTEAM.com founder and publisher Brooke de Lench.

They are education, protection, identification/removal, conservative treatment, cautious return and retirement. Visit thesmartestteam.com for more information.

Here are the signs of concussions, according to the American Academy of Neurology:

• Headache and light or sound sensitivity

• Balance, coordination and reaction time changes

• Altered memory, judgment, speech and sleep

• Rare blackouts or loss of consciousness

Take care of your brain, since it’s the only one you have. If you’re in doubt, you should sit out.

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