Coaches Conquer Concussions

By Nicholas Pavlov ’16 and Fahri Albardak ’16

“Just shake it off” was a phrase that was used frequently by many coaches when a student athlete suffered a traumatic head injury. These young athletes would get back onto the field and play with severe trauma that was possibly life threatening. However today, schools have taken action, and they have taken the students’ health into serious consideration.   

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that occurs from a blow to the head. It causes the brain to move rapidly in the skull and it affects the way the brain works for a certain period of time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussions aren’t fatal, but their effects can be serious and long term.

Concussion symptoms include memory problems, dizziness, nausea, headache, sleeping more or less than usual, answering questions slowly or appearing stunned. Midwood has a number of students with past concussion cases and symptoms.

In the spring of 2013, Bruno Bavaro ’16 suffered a concussion during baseball practice.

“I got hit in the second half of practice, and got a little lightheaded,” said Bavaro. “It was something I wasn’t accustomed to.”

Bavaro continued to play, and he began to realize that something was wrong. He wasn’t remembering any of the drills or any of the practice routines. After a meeting with the coach, he was forced to meet with a physician and to have a concussion assessment form completely filled out.

During the fall of 2014, Georgios Papazaharias ‘16 was another student who suffered a brain injury. He took a severe blow to the head during a soccer game leading to him being exempt from sports for a month.

“It was a terrible feeling,” said Papazaharias. “I wasn’t understanding what my teammates were saying.”

Papazaharias believes that concussion policies are inevitable and that they should be enforced in every school in the nation.

Andre Walls ’15, linebacker on the football team, stated that though he had never experienced a concussion, he has witnessed many teammates suffer the injury.

Walls advised for athletes to “just be careful because the sport is dangerous and trauma to the head may be inevitable.”

Walls expressed his appreciation of the way coaches at Midwood handle head injuiries. “They seek medical attention for the player immediately and do not allow the player to step back onto the field until the doctor clears him.”

Schools have taken action because of the increase in concussion cases in the United States. According to a study done by the The National Center for Biotechnology, an estimated 300,000 sport related concussions occur annually and this has caught the eye of many schools including,  Midwood High school.

All of the schools in the city must follow a certain set of rules when they see a potential concussion case.

According to the New York City Department of Education concussion form, when one detects a suspected concussion, the coach must remove the athlete from the field immediately and the student will not be allowed to return to physical activities for 24 hours.

The student must receive medical attention and a medical clearance from a physician. The coach must record the incident in their files and the clearance form must be kept in the student’s school file.

Midwood’s coaches must follow all of these rules, and they must take immediate action when necessary.

“We had to study the procedures on the policy and then get examined on how well they know it,” said Dr. George Hero, coach of the boys wrestling team.

Although Dr. Hero has never dealt with a concussion in all of his years of coaching, he is always prepared for the worst.

There is always room for improvement and schools are doing their best to care for their student athletes.

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