Concussion is not just a football injury. Athletes, parents, coaches, and teams need to address the issues of concussion in all sports and with all ages and both genders.
See all videos with Dr. Richard Ellenbogen.
So let's answer, how can we make football safer, but let's think in a more global term, how do we make all sports safer? Because, remember, concussion affects women as well as men athletes, affects girls as much as boys. In fact, for whatever reason, maybe a reporting bias, but there are more girls suffering concussions than ever before, and they're slower to recover, which we don't understand, and it might just be because they are more forthcoming with the information. But in football, in particular, the USA football really has a campaign to make football even safer by teaching the young football players how to tackle. Take their head out of the tackling and use their shoulders, different techniques, to have no head-to-head contact, to be careful, and understand the risks of concussions, and if you have one to report it to your coach or one of the parents on the sidelines. So, that's all happening, but, remember, there are more kids playing soccer and basketball and baseball, and we need to educate those kids, as well, and because of Title IX, there are arguably even more girls playing sports than guys in some areas, and when you compare the concussion rates, girls versus boys in the same sport, whether it's baseball, basketball, or soccer, it's just as high, and so, this cuts across both genders, all ages, and all sports. So, we need to do a better job in hockey, lacrosse, basketball, baseball. This is not simply a football injury, and if we fall prey to the idea it's just football, we're going to miss the majority of the kids playing sports.
Posted on BrainLine October 23, 2012.
Produced by Vicky Youcha, Ashley Gilleland, Justin Rhodes, and Erica Queen, BrainLine.
Richard Ellenbogen, MD is a University of Washington professor and chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery. He is chief and attending of neurological surgery, Harborview Medical Center and the co-chair of the NFL's Head, Neck, and Spine Committee.