Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hits to the Head in Sports

Brain bank examines athletes's hard hits caused me to think about my own "hard hit" experiences in football.  I was a fullback for four years on my varsity high school team and four years on my varsity college team.  I experienced several hard hits to the head.  Back then, we weren't checked immediately for concussions.  We only became concerned when there were nausea or vomiting overnight, which never happened.

I remember one particular hard hit my senior year in high school.  I was running up the middle and made it past the linebackers.  It was just me versus the safety, who was an excellent player.  He hit me squarely, helmet to helmet.  My helmet flew off and I was a little dizzy.  It was the hardest hit I had ever had playing football.

However, I had enough sense not to let him know that I had taken a hard hit.  So I picked up my helmet, put it on and jogged back to the huddle.  Before the next play was called, I told the quarterback, "Don't give me the ball this play. I'm a little dizzy from the last hit."  And the game went on.

Fortunately, I didn't show any symptoms of a concussion (e.g. severe headache, vomiting) that evening.

After the season, I was sitting at the same table with the safety at an awards banquet.  The conversation eventually was about the game we played against each other.   He mentioned the "big hit" and said that it had shaken him up and that he was dismayed that I appeared unaffected since I got up and jogged back to the huddle.  I confessed that the hit had made me a little dizzy, but that I didn't want to show him that I had been affected.  We both chuckled.

With the recent stories of concussion deaths in high school and brain damage in professional athletes, I'm wondering if I may experience some effects as I get older.  I asked my doctor about the apparent increase in head injuries, with some being fatal.   His perspective was there were two reasons.  First, athletes are diagnosed more often after a potential concussion that when I played.  Second, athletes are hitting harder than in the past.

Nevertheless, I am still mildly concerned of the long term effects of my high school and college sport days.  However, There is not much I can do now, except watch out for symptoms of potential health issues.

For more on  Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

This is not financial, sports or health advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2012 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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