Earlier this month, athletic trainers hailing from five different states–Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico–gathered for the 2014 Rocky Mountain Athletic Trainers Association Annual Clinical Symposium and Business Meeting to share their experiences.
These trainers discussed the most pressing issues affecting High School athletics during a dedicated session. This included talks on concussions, heat, and conflict, amongst many other challenges facing student athletes and trainers alike.
Dr. Steve Peters, a neuropsychologist at Utah Valley Sports Medicine, joined Becky Bailey, an American Fork athletic trainer, to discuss concussions, the potentially-lethal head injuries that affect the biggest amount of athletic trainers. According to the CDC, U.S. emergency departments treat a whopping 173,285 sports related traumatic brain injuries amongst peoples age 19 and under. What’s worse, emergency room trips for sports related traumatic brain injuries amongst adolescents have increased by a whopping 60% in the last decade.
Peters made a point that the key to a holistic recovery–physical, mental, and recreational–was for the patient to do things as symptoms tolerate. It takes time for the brain to heal. Cell phones, video games, TVs, movies, and computers all make it much more difficult for patients to regain their cognitive abilities since these devices overstimulate the mind.
“If they are getting headaches or having trouble sleeping, it’s an indication that the brain needs rest,” said Peters. “You want to manage the rate of stimuli.”
Concussions are a more pressing issue than many parents realize. Though it’s rare for an athlete to die from a sports injury, the most fatal of all sports-related injuries is a brain injury. Sports directly contributes to a staggering 21% of all the traumatic brain injuries amongst American adolescents.
If there’s even the slightest chance that a student has developed a concussion, it’s imperative that they get the proper medical treatment. As the current estimated amount of urgent care centers, which is at about 7,164 right now, continues to grow across the United States, there’s no reason that a student athlete shouldn’t get the medical care that they may need.