Thursday, 07 April 2011
If your kids are into any type of sport, you already know concussions are no joke. In an 11-year study of 25 high schools, researchers found the concussion rate increased 15.5 percent annually, with football causing more than half of the injuries for boys and soccer being the sport where girls are most at risk to sustain a concussion.
The brain injury "occurs when the head either accelerates rapidly and then is stopped, or is spun rapidly." After the trauma takes place, the brain starts to rapidly fire its neurotransmitters which can lead to confusion, blurred vision, memory loss, nausea and in a worst-case scenario, unconsciousness.
Because of the intense full contact in football, this sport is usually one of the main focal points when talking about concussions in athletics. During the 2010 NFL season, the league reported 154 concussions took place in either practices or games during preseason through the eighth week of the regular season, up 21 percent from the previous season.
Even with more vigilant rules regarding players and concussions, including sideline checks for concussed athletes, there are still some players who can't bear the thought of riding the bench and therefore, hide their injury. A November 2009 AP survey found 30 of 160 NFL players admitted to hiding or downplaying the effects of a concussion.
And while the NFL is constantly trying to inform its players, coaches and front-office management about the effects of this injury, video game makers are starting to inform fans about this potentially life-changing event.
EA Sports' newest video game, Madden 12 "will sideline concussed players for the entire game without exception." This is a change from previous versions of the game, where the virtual players could return to the field in the same quarter as the injury. The game is also "[banning] helmet-to-helmet hits, spearing or shots to the head of defenseless players."
Knowing how technologically savvy kids are, the creators of Madden 12 are hoping benching players for the whole game, along with commentary from the announcers about the severity of the injury, will raise awareness and serve as a teaching tool for kids.
To see the impact concussions have on athletes and their families, check out this video from ESPN.
Warning: some of the images in the video are graphic.
Have your kids ever suffered a concussion while competing? Do you think implementing concussion rules in things like video games will help raise awareness to young athletes (and their parents) about the brain injury?