Hard Hits part 1: Concussions in Pine Belt Football - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hard Hits part 1: Concussions in Pine Belt Football

Turn on the television on Sunday or Monday, and you're almost guaranteed to see an NFL defensive player spear himself, head first, right into the chin or the chest of the offensive player. It's a problem the NFL continues to try and remedy with rules changes, harsher fines and in-game penalties. No matter what rules the league tries to impose, it can't shield the fact; the game has become more violent and brutal than in any point in its history.

While Friday nights in the Pine Belt feature players of considerably less size and strength, the pads popping just as violently. Helmets still fly off, and concussions are just as much of an issue, if not more, for the high schoolers who suit up.

 "Kids in their adolescent or teenage years are more susceptible than adults are in the professional sports," says Mike Williamson, director of sports medicine for the Hattiesburg Clinic, "Their brain, just like the rest of their body, is not fully developed. The brain is still growing, and is not fully developed across electrical pathways."

A concussion is generally defined as a disruption of the normal electrical and chemical activity in the brain, and it's the second, rather than the first, collision that poses the biggest threat. "A concussion itself is not the initial problem. It's the post-concussive problem that you have," says Kevin Clement of Sports Medicine and Orthopedics for Hattiesburg Clinic, "It's kind of like an injury on top of an injury. It becomes the big issue we're trying to avoid."

The big issue he's referring to is players suffering a severe head injury, and returning to the field of play before that injury has had a chance to fully heal; Second-Impact Syndrome, as its known.

There are no exact statistics to show the number of concussions in the state; however, anywhere from 1.6 to 3.8 million people suffer sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries in the United States every year, according to the Mississippi Brain Injury Association in Jackson. Of that number, an estimated 75 to 90 percent of those injuries are treated in a hospital or emergency room.

Mississippi ranks as the third state in the country in number of brain injuries, including concussions, per year.

The athletes themselves are heavily relied upon for a concussion diagnosis, mainly because, unlike a broken bone or a torn ligament, concussions do not show up on many tests.

"A concussion, for the most part, does not show up on an MRI or a CT scan," said Clement, "People assume that you have to have that to be diagnosed with a concussion. That's not true. You do not have to have any loss of consciousness with a concussion."

What's more, symptoms of a concussion may appear relatively small after the first collision. Here are some symptoms of concussion to watch out for, according to Hattiesburg Clinic:

  - Headache

  - Blurred vision

  - Memory loss/changes

  - foggy feeling/confusion

  - behavioral changes

  - slowed reaction

  - dizziness

  - sensitive to light

  - emotional changes

 

Next Tuesday, Nov. 6, part two of "Hard Hits" will look into just how the athletes are examined on the sideline during game night, and what protocol demands if they are diagnosed with a concussion or head injury.

 

Copyright WDAM 2012. All Rights Reserved.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Midtown construction still on schedule

    Midtown construction still on schedule

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 11:21 PM EDT2017-10-19 03:21:12 GMT
    source: wdamsource: wdam

    Developer Rob Tatum with CR properties tell us that construction on the Midtown project is right on schedule. 

    More >>

    Developer Rob Tatum with CR properties tell us that construction on the Midtown project is right on schedule. 

    More >>
  • Dr. Joe Paul joins the City of Hattiesburg, part-time

    Dr. Joe Paul joins the City of Hattiesburg in part-time role

    Dr. Joe Paul joins the City of Hattiesburg in part-time role

    Wednesday, October 18 2017 10:45 PM EDT2017-10-19 02:45:41 GMT
    SOURCE: City of HattiesburgSOURCE: City of Hattiesburg

    Hattiesburg's mayor relies on a new face in hopes of bettering the city's administration and connection with the public. As Jessica Bowman reports, Mayor Toby Barker is proud to announce the new roll and the new face. Mayor Toby Barker said, "The citizens voted for this administration because they knew we would bring on qualified people who would do the best job."  Mayor Toby Barker developed a new position within his administration. Dr. Joe Paul is sliding in as the ...

    More >>

    Hattiesburg's mayor relies on a new face in hopes of bettering the city's administration and connection with the public. As Jessica Bowman reports, Mayor Toby Barker is proud to announce the new roll and the new face. Mayor Toby Barker said, "The citizens voted for this administration because they knew we would bring on qualified people who would do the best job."  Mayor Toby Barker developed a new position within his administration. Dr. Joe Paul is sliding in as the ...

    More >>
  • Hattiesburg radiologist takes the fear out of mammograms

    Hattiesburg radiologist takes the fear out of mammograms

Powered by Frankly