Concussions counteract team’s success


DSC_7409 DSC_7402That one wrong hit. That one missed catch. That one ball to the head. They can all result in a concussion and there is no telling whether or not a player will return to the game ever again. Both varsity catchers, senior Ryan Sullivan and sophomore Graham Low, received concussions within a week of each other.

Sophomore Graham Low said he received his first concussion during the baseball season when he took a foul tip off of his catcher’s mask. This is typically not an automatic concussion but the ball bounced of his mask and he took the full force of the ball.

It can be hard to cope with a concussion on a sports team let alone focus during school. The symptoms of a concussion limit a person from performing the same way they are used to.

“Because of the post-concussion symptoms like headaches, feeling sick to my stomach, and sensitivity to light and audio, I have missed 2 full days of school and can’t do homework until my symptoms go away,” Low said. “The concussion really makes it hard to focus on anything. Reading and writing I found to be the most difficult because my head would start hurting or I would zone out.”

There are many the long-term effects of a concussion that can hinder a student’s schoolwork even for seniors.

“Having a concussion is really hard because you need to focus in school and that is a very important part when you are a senior,” Sullivan said.

Although Low was out for a while, he has finally been cleared after passing the impact test to play.

Sullivan on the other hand has been cleared for a while and has played catcher in their most recent game against Bishop ‘O’Dowd as he was only out for a week. He has had two concussions before but they were not from his football career.

“I have had two concussions and they were actually both from baseball” Sullivan said.

Due to the fact that baseball is only a contact sport not a collision sport, concussions are a lot less common in baseball and there is not much opportunity to get this injury said athletic trainer Lauren Small.

“There was a ball in the dirt and I went to pick it but it hit a rock and bounced up and hit me right on the side of the head,” Sullivan said.

According the Centers for Disease Control, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. They can also result from a blow to the body, causing the head to knock back and forth.

“People may not know that it’s not a good idea to go to school with symptoms of a concussion because that can actually prolong the healing process,” athletic trainer Lauren Small said. “It can make the concussion last longer and even simple things like weightlifting or anything that puts pressure on the brain will prolong the concussion.

Small said that if you already have a concussion and you get hit anywhere on your body it can actually lead to another concussion during the healing process.

“If you return to a game while you still have a concussion, it can result in Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) and you may have symptoms of a concussion for weeks, years, or sometimes for the rest of your life, depending on the severity of the concussion,” Small said.

According to, a simple concussion occurs when symptoms get better in 7-10 days. A complex concussion is where someone experiences persistent symptoms that last longer than 7-10 days. Doctors also consider it a complex concussion if a person loses consciousness (passes out) for more than 1 minute or has a seizure at the time of the injury.

There is no magic number for the number of concussions someone can get before they are out of commission as it varies from person to person and also depend on severity. Small said that people are not very aware of how truly dangerous this injury is to anyone especially teens.

“It is an individual type of thing,” Small said. “I have had athletes who have had to retire from their sports because of the amount of concussions they had and who actually had long term consequences from the concussions”

According to, football and men’s ice hockey round off the top two sports with the highest concussion rates, but some people may not know that women’s soccer is third in line with a 33% concussion rate (33% of female soccer athletes incur concussions at this rate).

“Women’s soccer is a sport where it is more likely to get a concussion and the reason for that is because their necks are not as strong,” Small said. “Doing neck strengthening in the pre-season in every sport will help with reducing the likelihood of concussions.”

Small said that a contact sport is when a participant comes into bodily contact with one another where a collision sport is a sport where participants purposely collide with each other.

“Other than being hit with the ball or being hit with a bat or something that is more of an accident type or error, there really is not that much opportunity to get a concussion unless there are two players colliding with each other,” Small said.