Cranial Impact

Concussions affect the lives of students at Glendale.

Micaela Burkhardt

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   Concussions are the most common brain injury. Although hearing the word concussion may not sound serious, in the United States there are over three million cases of concussions a year. 

  “Concussions are a temporary disturbance of brain function caused by traumatic forces transmitted to the brain,” John Leddy, Professor and Director of the University at Buffalo Concussion Management Clinic said. 

  Concussions are not unheard of when it comes to sports. Kendrick Scott, junior, said he got a concussion right before his sophomore season of soccer. 

  “I was going up for a header,” Scott said. “My legs got taken out from underneath me and I landed on my head. They thought I might have broken my neck so an ambulance had to come get me.” 

  Although Scott did not break his neck, he still had to go through extensive treatment. 

  “I had to go to the hospital and they did an MRI, a few X-rays and they had a few more tests for me to do,” Scott said. “They tested my reactions, if I could follow a light and how my memory was.”

  Leddy explained how light sensitivity, headache, dizziness, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, feeling off balance, feeling “foggy”, loss of memory are all side effects from having a concussion. Scott, faced more than just one of these side effects.

  “I was really sensitive to light,” Scott said. “I had to wear sunglasses at school and everywhere else I went. I also had a migraine 24/7 for about a month and a half.”

 “Concussions in high school students last anywhere from one to four weeks,” Leddy said.

  Concussions take a heavy toll on high school students’ grades, not only because school absences, but also the loss of memory and concentration in class.  

  “I would do stuff in class and then get home a few hours later and I would have completely forgotten what we did in class and couldn’t do any of my homework,” Scott said. 

  Although Scott said he believes that because of his concussion he no longer focus as well, Leddy said that there is controversy over whether concussions have long term effects on the brain.

  “That is a source of controversy because we do not have good enough long-term data,” Leddy said. “There is some concern that people may experience depression or cognitive problems if they have too many concussions or don’t take care of them but the number that is too many is not known. Some think that it is the number of non-concussive hits to the head that is the cause of potential long term problems like CTE.”

  Leddy has worked to help create a test that helps doctors know when the right time an athlete should be cleared to play their sport again.

  “It is a treadmill test that increases exercise intensity very gradually,” Leddy said. “We look for the point where the patient has a significant increase in symptoms. We then give the person an exercise prescription at 80% of the heart rate achieved on the treadmill, at the point of symptom-exacerbation. We have shown that exercising for 20 minutes per day at that level is safe and speeds recovery in those with post-concussion syndrome. We are now using the same principle in adolescents within a week of sport-related concussion.”

  Although concussions are most widely heard of when it comes to sports,   

   Parker Widmeyer, junior, gained his concussion while longboarding. 

  “As I was longboarding with some friends I had an unfortunate fall,” Widmeyer said. “I ended up cracking my skull along with the concussion.” 

  Widmeyer said that due to his concussion his schooling was affected.

  “My concussion absolutely affected my schooling. I went from all A’s and then that quarter I got B’s and one C.” 

   Although hearing the word concussion may not seem so significant, concussions can have major effects on everyday life. 

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