Keeping high school athletes safe on and off the field

Keeping high school athletes safe on and off the field

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by ANN SHERIDAN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheridanWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 8:01 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 8:20 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- From the pep rallies to the games to the highlights, we can’t get enough of Friday night football.

But during every season, and in every league, there are  always concerns about the safety of the sport.

High School football players are nearly twice as likely to suffer a concussion as those playing at the college level.  

Grady Hardeman, the Athletic Trainer Coordinator at  Carolinas HealthCare System, says this is the time of year that we should be extra vigilant of high school football players.

"They know if they report the symptoms,  their chances of playing in this week’s game are very slim,”  said Hardeman.

Hardeman tracks concussions for Mecklenburg and the surrounding counties.  He says a dangerously high number of students won’t tell an adult they fear they have a concussion during high school playoffs. 

It’s a decision that can be deadly resulting in something called Second Impact Syndrome, a rare condition, but extremely serious.

“They take another blow and now all of a sudden their brain shuts down and in fifty percent of the cases, death occurs,” says Hardeman.

He says parents need to look for these warning signs:  Forgetfulness, irrational behavior  and changes in sleep or eating patterns. 

Hardeman also says teachers can help by watching student-athletes in class and looking for symptoms that include lower than normal tests or scores, students who are squinting or are bothered by the light or seem unusually tired.

If you suspect your student athlete has suffered a concussion, you should seek immediate medical attention.
 

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