Story by: Osbiel Montano

Awareness for head injuries in sports has increased greatly over the past decade due to the fact that athletes in many contact sports are constantly receiving violent blows to the head that could lead to long term effects like CTE.

In a recent study by Dr. Ann McKee she found out that out of 111 former NFL players 110 of them had some sort of evidence of CTE in their brain.Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in people with repeated head trauma.

Linebacker, Craig Tafua, who is redshirting this season with a broken fibula says he is scared of this and is going to be in the back of his head while playing football. Tafua said, “I’ve never had a concussion, but I do feel that the enhanced equipment allows us to hit harder. At a certain point hitting someone becomes a stress reliever.”

The sport that has had the most issues with concussions is football, as players are repeatedly making helmet to helmet contact with each other. The LBCC football team works with the training staff to make sure head injuries are being treated properly.

“Since we don’t know much about concussions now, it’s hard for us to put players back in the game if we suspected they suffered a head injury.” Justin Caovan said, student athletic trainer for the Vikings, on how the decision to allow players to play through head injuries.

They way that trainers diagnose concussions on the sideline is they have the athlete go through a series of tests that will help conclude if the athlete is concussed or not. One of the tests trainers put injured athletes through is the Scat 5 which is a test that analyzes memory and coordination and helps the trainers make a decision on whether or not they’ve been injured.

Football players also go through a concussion education sessions and concussion tests to help players understand what is happening when they suffer head injuries.

Concussions in other sports also happen, not as frequently as football but all concussions can lead to bad long term effects. Viking sport teams all have similar concussion protocols when they suspect a player gets hurt.

Men’s Soccer Head Coach Cameron Beaulac acknowledges that concussions are becoming more common especially on plays where the player makes contact with the ball or even sometimes the opponent’s head. .

Every player’s concussion varies as some may take a lot longer to heal from them, “We’ve had players miss only the one game they got hurt in, and we’ve had guys miss up to two weeks with one.” Beaulac said.

Problems from concussions may not arise until years later after the injury happened. Symptoms include memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia.