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Fall has finally arrived and it has brought with it that great American pastime of football. Football season is starting and as every athlete begins practice and play it is important to discuss sports safety and concussions. Athletes start learning and playing the sport of football from a young age in the communities of rural Nebraska. However, as with everything in life football does have some risks associated with playing the sport.

Emergency room medical provider Rochelle Herrada, APRN, stated, “Sports are one of the leading causes of concussions. They may occur during a game or practice.”

However, what is a concussion?

 “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by an injury to an individual’s brain,” explains Mrs. Herrada. This can occur during a variety of injuries including if the head is hit, bumped or the body’s motion is suddenly stopped causing the brain to move back and forth within the skull. 

A concussion can produce a wide variety of symptoms that are specific to each individual patient. Symptoms of a concussion typically present immediately after the injury but at times may develop over several hours following the initial injury.

Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Personality changes
  • Light-headedness
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • Difficulty with memory
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting

If there is concern that an individual may be suffering from a concussion it is important to seek medical care. The individual should be evaluated by a health care provider.

While there is no 100% effective way to prevent a concussion there are some important steps to help lower an individual’s risk.

Safety Tips

  • Wear appropriate protective equipment when playing sports
  • Ensure protective equipment fits and is in good condition
  • Follow all safety rules put in place

Sports are an important aspect of life in rural Nebraska. They promote physical fitness, improve coordination as well as develop lifelong skills such as teamwork, persistence and determination. However, it is important to take steps to ensure the safety of our youth as they participate in sports.