For the past few months we’ve all heard a lot about concussions suffered in sports. The outcry among parents at the youth sports level has been loud and long. We’d heard about concussions before, of course, but I think we all learned much more about the frequency and the long-term effects. A decade ago, parents and coaches in youth sports didn’t give a whole of thought to them.
Other people, however, were thinking about them quite a bit. And talking about them too. Apparently we just weren’t listening. On concussionblog.com, I found this fascinating post about an article that appeared in Sports Illustrated railing against how the srpots world ignores concussions. The article ran some time ago. The year? 1994.
When you read the excerpts from the article you might be shocked to find that the doc was saying exactly what you and I have heard in the past year. He objects to the cavalier way coaches talk about a player getting his or her “bell rung” and says attention must be paid to what’s happening on sports fields all the time. He also warns about the long-term damage done traumatic brain injuries, even ones that seemingly aren’t severe.
Unless a player was knocked out cold or was extremely groggy from a head impact, we didn’t pay nearly enough attention. A woozy player would be taken out of the game until he seemed to be alert again, and then often put right back in.
We can make the excuse that we didn’t know then what we know now, but the SI article – and no doubt quite a bit of other evidence sure to come to light – proves otherwise. Yes, the doc was a researcher at a major university, but Sports Illustrated isn’t exactly some rarified scientific publication read only by scholars. The information was right in front of us.
What’s done, of course, is done, and now that the information is all over the mainstream media we need to pay attention, learn everything we can, and do a better job of protecting our young players.