A recent op-ed published by The Oregonian calls for parents to take more care, and schools to take more responsibility, when it comes to preventing concussions and traumatic brain injuries among student athletes, especially younger athletes still in high school.
The column was written by James Chesnutt. He is identified in the article’s footer as a doctor and the “medical director of the OHSU sports medicine program.”
In the article he says that he is writing to encourage “all Oregon high schools to agree to a management protocol to help their student athletes deal with concussions.” He writes: “The protocol calls for schools to establish a plan to help a student recover.” This, he adds, could include time off from school following a head injury.
In addition to calling for Oregon schools to take greater care in the diagnosis and treatment of head injuries in athletes the doctor also offers a sense of how widespread the problem has become. “More than 1000 Oregon student athletes suffer concussions every year,” he says. That number is shockingly high for a state our size. Still, there is also some good news: “In most cases, the effects from these concussions can be temporary – if they are managed well,” he notes. Doing so, however, requires that school officials of every type be involved – in other words, principals and teachers as well as coaches. The problem, he adds, is especially acute with “younger athletes” who “are more likely to experience problems following a concussion (and) take longer to recover.” This, in turn, requires extra care, and extra vigilance, on the part of responsible adults.
As we move into the heart of the football and soccer seasons these are wise words that every parent, teacher, coach and student ought to keep in mind. As a Portland brain injury attorney, it is always sad to see families struggling to cope with the aftermath of a n Oregon traumatic brain or spinal cord injury. The best solution is to work beforehand to make youth and high school sports as safe as possible and to ensure that our kids are safe and healthy while they are getting exercise and having fun.