“It’s better to miss one game than the whole season.”
That’s the message that the Centers for Disease Control is sending out to young athletes when it comes to concussions. But perhaps the message should be “Live to play another day.”
One game can change your life forever, or end it. In Washington State, Zackery Lystedt, 13, was injured during a football game. He was hit again on the field, suffering from “second-impact trauma,” and collapsed on the field. Zack spent the next three months in a coma.
In Washington, the Lystedt Law attempts to protect young athletes from returning to a game too soon by requiring written permission from a medical professional before an injured athlete can return to the game.
Some of those same requirements are being used right here in Fairmont on the high school and university level in athletics. At East Fairmont High School, athletes are able to participate in testing designed to provide a baseline of knowledge in an athlete, and then can re-take the test after getting a concussion and throughout recovery to help trainers measure how they are doing.
Through ImPACT, which stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, coaches, trainers and athletes are also armed with information on how to identify a concussion on the sidelines to prevent any further damage to the brain. The same system is used at Fairmont State University with a great deal of success.
We commend these schools for directly dealing with this issue and encourage others to participate on every athletic level, from youth recreational teams to competitive collegiate leagues. Because a concussion isn’t just an immediate threat. Like 13-year-old Zack, if athletes refuse to talk to their coaches and trainers about a head injury in the middle of a game, a second injury could cause extreme swelling, bleeding and sudden death in an athlete.
In addition to that, chronic and repeated head injuries can cause long-term brain damage, which changes personalities, causes aggressiveness and creates gaps in function, memory and knowledge.
We’ve built bigger, better athletes. Look at the linemen of the 1920s — the “leather heads” — versus the massive linemen of today’s NFL. We’ve replaced the leather “helmets” with state-of-the-art armor for the shoulders, legs and heads. But nothing, not even the best helmet money can buy, can truly protect the brain tissue inside the skull. In fact, the stronger the helmet, the stronger the hit. The more you protect an athlete, the more vulnerable he is.
No one is advocating ending impact sports. And the NFL has certainly identified the issues of brain trauma, whether it be because of a class-action lawsuit or human decency, and has started to fine players for certain kinds of hits.
Considering the amount of money these athletes make to take down their opponent, you have to ask whether punitive measures are effective.
In fact, you just have to ask what can be done in the long run to stop the trauma, from soccer to football and from cheering to softball.
We can’t accept the old-school mentality of concussions as “just part of the game.” They’re not. They are potentially exposing our children to a lifetime struggle if they continue with athletics and repeated head injuries.
We’ve come so far in identifying the problem. Now we have to identify some solutions.
“It’s better to miss one game than the whole season.”
‘Pothole blitz’ badly needed service coming in West Virginia
Hopefully, the heavy snow and extremely cold weather of January, February and early March are in the past.
Remnants of the harsh winter, though, remain. They’re faced each day by the state’s drivers.
Potholes have West Virginia’s roads in their worst condition in years, and the damaging freeze-thaw cycle is not over.
‘The issues are complicated’ with e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes have been around for about seven years.
But you’d be shocked at how long the idea for the the tobacco-less product has been around.
“A primitive, battery-operated ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’ was patented as early as 1963 and described in Popular Mechanics in 1965,” Megan McArdle wrote for Business Week last monty.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
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