Published: July 28, 2014
Recently, I spoke at an event where a “heads-up” father told me a chilling story. A few months ago, he was at his son’s weekly football game. That’s American football, the one with the helmets, pads, mouth guards, and the high speed collisions. Just to clarify, I am a huge football fan. In fourth and fifth grade I played linebacker and wide receiver in a pop warner league in my hometown of Dayton, Minnesota. That was full on pads, helmets, the whole nine yards! I cried when my mom made me quit in 6th grade. I would have to play in the older division and mom wasn’t having that, but I digress…
The father told me about one of the running backs on the team suffering a teeth-rattling, helmet to helmet hit while carrying the ball, and immediately crumpled to the ground. Play was stopped and the team’s medical personnel ran onto the field to assess him. He was clearly exhibiting signs of a head injury and minutes after being escorted off the field he vomited on the sidelines. [Click here for Signs & Symptoms]
The head coach asked the player, “What did you have to eat today?”
When the boy said he had seafood, the coach then said, “Well that must be why you just got sick, get some water, shake it off and get back out there!”
In that moment this father exclaimed, “There is no way he’s going back in there! He needs to see a doctor right now.”
The man suspected the player might have a skull fracture. Sadly, tests showed he was correct. Thank goodness he was able to talk the coach out of sending the player back in, because he would have surely suffered another hit as a running back. I was horrified at the thought of the damage just one more hit could have caused had this father not been aware and insistent.
Similar scenarios play out over and over again on playing fields everywhere. This is another reason why awareness, education and application about traumatic brain injuries is crucial.
Youth sports safety is often overlooked until a child you know is affected, thankfully in this case someone knew enough to say, “That’s Enough!!”