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Concussions


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It was the first game of the 2012-2013 RIIL Girls Hockey championships. Everyone was working as hard as they could to make sure that their team came out on top. During the second period, a puck got past a freshman defenseman at the blue line. She skated as fast as she could back to her zone to get the puck and right as it left the blade of her stick she was hit. The next thing she remembers is skating off of the ice to her bench. She was cradling her head, and the tears just kept streaming down her face. The girl who hit her had come out of nowhere and the freshman was not expecting the hit. If she was expecting it she could have tried to stop it, but everything always happens for a reason, right?

I know this story because I was that freshman that got hit in the game. My story is only a minor case of what could have happened to me. I left that game with a minor concussion, and I only missed one other game in the season. Concussions have been causing a lot of trouble within sports around the world. Every year in high schools across the United States 300,000 sport related concussions occur. Just in the United States alone there are about 1.6 - 3.8 million sports related concussions yearly. I wonder why the concussions are being treated so seriously now. In the past, a concussion was just simply a headache, but now it has caused a lot of pain and even some deaths within the world. Is there ever going to be a stop to this horrible injury?

Concussions are usually only found within contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, hockey and basketball. The sports with not as much contact such as baseball, tennis, track and field, and swimming tend not to have that many concussions throughout the season. The recovery for this injury is long, tiring, and most of all, it’s boring. The best treatment for a concussion is brain rest; personally brain rest drove me crazy. While on brain rest, you’re not allowed to use any electronics such as a phone, watch TV, or listen to music, you’re not allowed to read or do work, and the only thing really allowed is sleeping. I was going mad after one day of brain rest because it wasn’t what my normal day would have been like. By the end, I was just depressed and frustrated because the only thing I could do to get better was to do anything at all.

The brain is a very delicate organ in your body, and without the brain a human would not be able to function. In many cases concussions have lead to the damage of the brain called chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE for short. CTE is a degenerative brain disease that results in behaviors similar to Alzheimer’s disease such as memory loss, dementia, and depression. Many professional athletes have been known to have CTE since the time that they get hit, and at some point in their lives it just gets too hard to handle and they end up taking their lives. One of the most famous victims of this disease is linebacker Junior Seau. He was a star football player for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots between the years of 1990 and 2009, but in May of 2012 he took his own life. He did this because the symptoms of CTE had gotten to him and had gotten to his head and he just couldn’t take it anymore. Seau shot himself in the chest so that doctors would be able to experiment on his brain and see if he truly did have CTE. He is one of many professionals that suffered head injuries and believed that the only way for their pain to be gone was to end their lives.

Last year my older sister had received two very major concussions within the same week and she was not cleared by the doctors to play any sports or anything that included contact for 5 months. I was scared out of my mind the whole entire hockey season because I didn’t want to get a concussion and have to stop playing. I have always been known to be the girl that would always gets hurt when she’s playing a sport, but the whole season had gone by without an injury. The playoffs couldn’t have been a worse place for me to get a concussion and I was so upset when the trainer pulled me from the game. The weekend before my concussion I had been hit twice in one game and continued to play ignoring the fact that I was hurt. That really could have changed my life drastically. I could have lost my memory and all the things in my life that mattered to me. I learned a great lesson from this injury because now I know that if I ever get hit in the head again I need to sit down so that it doesn’t get any worse. The fact that I stayed off of the ice that game and didn’t force myself back on possibly could have made my life so much different than it is now. One of my teammates was telling me to “suck it up and put your helmet back on”. I’m happy that I stood up to her and knew that it was serious enough that I couldn’t play anymore.

Most people don’t believe that a hit to the head isn’t always a concussion, but most of the time it is. I was lucky, but some people that receive this type of injury aren’t. So next time that you’re in a game or even just rough-housing and you get hit in the head, take a second and think about what could happen if it is severe and the doctors weren’t notified. No one wants to lose anything in their lives due to a simple hit on the head.



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