Health

Sports Safety Not Limited Only To Athletes

When I wrote my blog today, the weather delivered a huge contradiction.  As the mercury soared to 90 degrees, I had trouble reconciling the fact that I had license to write about an “autumn” sport, when coaches are more concerned about athletes getting too hot instead of warm enough.

The first whistles of scholastic and collegiate autumn sports are only a couple weeks away, which means the lives of athletes, their families, coaches and the medical professionals that are trusted with their overall care becomes more critical.

Although the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association) mandates player physicals, coaches concussion-recognition certification along with CPR/AED and first aid training (a terrific thing), sports injury and vulnerability will always be that “perfect storm” waiting to happen.

As parents or guardians, what is your knowledge of concussions?  Are you aware that statistics support  at least one athlete in every high-school football game in America will sustain a concussion?  Some will show obvious signs while others more subtle signs.  In fact one of the main reasons many athletes don’t show up on the injury report, is because they don’t want to be taken out of the game.  If you’re interested in learning more, check out the various concussion signs and symptoms by going to http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/concussion/DS00320/DSECTION=symptoms.

Fooling oneself into believing that concussions are only an event that involves helmet to helmet contact couldn’t be more incorrect.

In fact, shaken brain situations frequently occur from contact with the ground (yes, soccer) or any sport where the head can experience whiplash.

Crowds will come together as well, egged on by adrenaline and excitement of the contest before them.  What would you do as a spectator if the person next to you suddenly fell to the ground unconscious?

Would you now the signs and symptoms of a heart-attack?  If an AED (Autonomic External Defibrillator) were available would you know how to use it?  If the  person that sustained the heart attack was you, there is no doubt your  hope that one of the people reading this blog could answer an emphatic “yes” to that question.  The Mayo Clinic offers some heart attack signs.  Check it out by going to http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-attack/DS00094/DSECTION=symptoms.

Perhaps putting this int0 better perspective are some important statistics regarding heart attacks in the United States:

  • Every year, over a million people die from heart attacks
  • One person every 33 seconds, will sustain a heart attack
  • One half of all individuals who sustain Sudden Cardiac Death are under the age of 65.

The final kicker, is that by the year 2020, coronary heart disease will be the worlds number 1 cause of death.

Despite these aforementioned scenarios, keep in mind any of us can alter the statistics considerably.   Pertaining to your student-athlete, know what to look for.  Lethargy, head-aches and  concentration problems are just some of the areas to look for in recognizing a concussion.

Have you always wanted to learn Cardiopulmonary (CPR) Resuscitation ?  What a terrific skill set to know as the result of a 3-4 hour “hands on” class (don’t worry, you practice on mannequins) that could save the life of someone around you.  Check out your local Red Cross, or American Heart Association.  These classes are usually taught monthly, cost very little and could give someone a second lease on life.

The countdown has begun as student-athletes return to the field, court or floor in any number of sports.  As parents, coaches or “spectators in the crowd” we can all become better observers an insuring the health of our athletes and those around us.

 

 

 

 

Bill Victor

Bill Victor, M.S. Exercise Science is the President of Victor Fitness and Performance Training. He and his team of trainers are dedicated to bringing the fitness experience, and the self-confidence that comes with it, to the citizens of Clark County. He can be reached through www.victor-fitness.com or his email, bill@victor-fitness.com.