Get Your Head in the Game


Brooke Pileggi, Contributing Writer

“A concussion is a temporary unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head,” according to  A concussion can affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance and muscle coordination. Although it is temporary, it can be excruciatingly painful.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause bruising, damage to the blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. When you sustain a concussion, a shock wave passes through the brain and bounces back off the skull. This can cause bleeding in the brain, which can be checked for by receiving a CAT-Scan. The brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned by spinal fluid and covered by a protective shell of the skull, attributed by 

 A study completed by shows that 1 and 5 high school students get a sports concussion during their season. Four to five million mild concussions occur annually, with rising numbers among the student athletes aged 14 to 19 years old. More than 162,000 of these concussions are sports related. 

Typically, student athletes want to get right back in the game after this injury. The severity of concussions can range depending on how hard the student got hit. Some teenagers are out of school, sports, and any extra circulars for two weeks while others can be out for six to eight weeks. “I was out for about two weeks and a half and missed a couple of my soccer games during season,” said senior Julia Kobusky.

Recovery time means time not playing your sport. Unfortunately, with a concussion, you have to take serious precautions and let yourself fully recover returning to any activity, let alone sports.

One recent study from that examined the impact of cognitive rest on concussion recovery times saw patients who limited their cognitive activity make full recoveries from their concussions in half as much time as patients who did not change their behavior. “The first time I was out for about two games during season and the second was also for about two games,” said sophomore Lucas Geiger.  

Coaches, though, are understanding of the circumstance and realize the severity of a head injury and your teammates will be supportive and try to help you in and out of school. “They [the coaches] were upset because I did miss a few games but they knew it was for the best that I was resting and not risking further injury. I was upset considering I missed a big game against Dallas and it was hard to see my team play without me but everyone was really nice and supportive,” said Kobusky.

If you do decide you want to come back right away and not let yourself heal properly, it would come at a major cost. A person with a concussion going back on the field can be considered a walking time bomb waiting to explode once hit for the second time. They are not able to react of think quickly. “My coaches pushed the importance of getting a lot of rest for if I wanted to come back as quick as possible,” said Geiger.

Also, the brain is very sensitive after this blow to the head. Re-injuring the brain while concussed can lead to more serious health problems. “In head injuries, one plus one equals four,” said Dr. Karen Johnson of the Concussion Clinic at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

It is important to recognize symptoms of failure to getting better before it is too late. Symptoms can include weak attention span, headaches, and lethargic speaking. “I frequently would get headaches and feel really tired. It was hard to focus at some times,” said Kobusky when talking about her symptoms.

Depending on the severity the pain can range drastically. “The second time was much worse as far as symptoms. I realized I would need more rest before coming back to play,” said Geiger.

The chances of you getting a concussion the second time are more likely and can become more severe. You are more prone to having one. Studies show that athletes are who suffered a concussion are four to six times more likely to get a second concussion. “The second time I was a lot more dizzy and I got worse headaches. Going to school and trying to focus was also a little harder,” said Geiger.

If you get a concussion for the second time within the first year of when your first concussion happened, you have a higher risk of having symptoms three times longer than those whose concussions were more than a year apart.

Standard procedures here at Wyoming Valley West for getting a concussion are to see our Athletic Trainer, Coach Fred and he will track your recovery.