With player safety and the long term effects of concussions grabbing headlines on almost a daily basis, two Nevada Union seniors decided to give an in-depth presentation to their fellow classmates on the topic that has the sports world reevaluating how games are played.
Lauren Young and Jasa Fox gave three presentations Wednesday at the Don Baggett Theatre on NU’s campus to nearly 600 students about the dangers of concussions, recognizing a possible concussion and the repercussions that could follow.
“A big reason we decided to do it is because we have seen actual players get concussions and it can be really scary if they are not treated properly,” Fox said.
Fox and Young are students in the Nevada Union Sports Medicine ROP program, and served as medical assistants for the Miners during the last two football seasons.
“I think we made an impact,” Fox said. “We had a lot of athletes there and I think they learned a lot.”
The presentation was a part of the students’ senior projects, which was overseen by Nevada Union’s athletic trainer, assistant football coach and co-head coach of the track and field team Jamie Wise.
“Those girls are phenomenal,” Wise said. “They knocked that project out of the park. It was smooth and I had teachers come up to me after and say how much they liked it and that it was on the students’ level.”
At the hour-long presentation Fox and Young showed the E:60 documentary “Second Impact” which tackles the topic of second impact syndrome. The documentary follows several athletes that have incurred multiple concussions in a short amount of time and the adverse health effects that have arisen from them.
According to sportsmd.com, second impact syndrome occurs when an athlete returns to a sport too early after suffering an initial concussion. Because the brain is more vulnerable after the initial concussion it makes a second concussion more likely if there isn’t proper recovery time. Second impact syndrome has a high mortality rate in young athletes and those that are diagnosed and survive may suffer problems with speech, cognitive ability, sensory ability, vision, hearing, smell, taste, and social and emotional interactions.
In the presentation Fox and Young also touched on concussion symptoms, recognizing those symptoms and recent concussion statistics, Young said.
Nevada Union has implemented a concussion protocol, designed by school nurse Karen Harris, that sets forth the process in which a concussed athlete must complete before returning to action, said Wise.
If an athlete or student sustains a concussion, that is diagnosed by a doctor, they have to be symptom free for three days after the diagnoses. At that point they return to their doctor and have to be cleared. If cleared the athlete can return to light action on the fourth symptom free day.
If there are still no symptoms on the fifth day they can participate in exercises at a moderate level.
No symptoms on the sixth day and the athlete may return to their sport with light contact. On the seventh day, if the athlete is still symptom free, they may return to full participation.
“The thing is, if we can catch that first one, now we can stop the second one from happening,” Wise said.
Young and Fox both said they hope to continue to learn and work in the medical field and that the Sports Medicine ROP program at NU has been a great place to get started.
“It was a great experience,” Yong said. “I would recommend it for anything and everything related to medicine. Jamie does a great job of making it interesting. It is just a great experience to feel like you’re making an actual difference in real life situations.”
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