- Being dazed, confused, or disoriented
- Inability to remember the events that occurred immediately before the injury or the injury itself
- Speaking incoherently
- Changes in eating or sleep patterns
- Loss of balance
- Blurred vision.
Young Football Players and Brain Injuries
The physical demands of a young athlete are immense, especially for those who play team sports like lacrosse and football where blows to the head from collisions and falls are part of the game. Before their brains even get a chance to fully develop, young players have to learn how to avoid and how to handle debilitating injuries. Brain injuries can result from years’ worth of small jolts to the head or from one major impact. According to the NCAA Injury Surveillance Center, 10% of all college football players sustain brain injuries, which is an average of 1,364 per year. The growing awareness that concussions can have serious long-term effects has led the NCAA Football Rules Committee to adopt harsher penalties for targeting on the field. Additionally, every school is required to have a concussion-management plan, though many football players choose to stay quiet about concussion-like symptoms so they can continue in the game. High-tech helmets and other impact-monitoring systems have been developed in an effort to measure and prevent head trauma. Once someone suffers a concussion, he or she is at a greater risk for suffering another one, and some traumatic brain injuries can be career ending. Take Rico Johnson, 20-year old freshman cornerback for the Bulldogs. Doctors discovered that he had a neurological brain disorder of unknown origins, but the assumption is that repeated head trauma is to blame. His football career was in its infancy, and while doctors believe he’ll be able to live a “normal life,” he likely won’t play again because the next time he takes a hit to the head could be his last. Brain injuries are not something to ignore, so be aware of the signs: