The nation is obsessed with NFL concussions and wants to know why they happen, what long-term effects they have on athletes and how the game of football should be changed to protect players. Yet our collective concern for college football athletes leaves something to be desired.
A new study may change that attitude and shift the national conversation about concussions. Researcher Christine Baugh, working in collaboration with Harvard University and Boston University’s CTE Center, conducted a survey of 730 college football championship players to get a handle on the prevalence of concussions in college football and gain insight into what can be done about these events. Baugh’s research found that concussions in college likely go vastly under reported. For every instance of a medically-diagnosed concussion, she found 21 other instances of “bell ringers” that never got reported. Not all head injuries lead to concussions or injuries, obviously. However, it’s highly likely that medical practitioners only see the tip of the concussion iceberg, so to speak.
College athletes are, by their nature, competitive. They want to stay in the game and keep playing, even if it hurts. Likewise, coaches want to win, and they have strong incentives to keep hurt players on the field.
Baugh also conducted a study of FCS coaches and surveyed the attitudes of players towards their coaches. This research revealed that freshman feel relatively comfortable telling coaches about possible concussions, often agreeing with the statement “If I report what I think might be a concussion, my coach will think I think I did the right thing.” However, upperclassman did NOT agree with that statement nearly as much. This suggests that recent educational campaigns about concussions might be working. Younger players, who’ve received more intense education about head injuries than their older classmates, are more cognizant of the dangers. Clearly, however, we have a long way to go to understand and grapple with head injuries in college sports.
If you or someone you love suffered a head injury or other serious injury during a college sports match, call the Washington DC brain injury attorneys here at Regan, Zambri & Long for a free and confidential consultation.
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