By Brooks Baehr - bio | email
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – New figures show the number of reported concussions involving Hawaii high school athletes is on pace to break last year's record. That doesn't necessarily mean there are more concussions, but it is good indication concussion awareness continues to grow.
Ross Oshiro, Coordinator for the Hawaii Athletic Trainers' Association, announced concussion numbers during a clinic on concussions at McKinley High School sponsored by the HATA Thursday night.
Oshiro said through the first two months of the 2011/2012 school year there have been about 350 reported concussions. There were 446 reported concussions the entire 2010/2011 school year.
Of the 350 fall sports concussions, 257 happened to athletes playing football, cheerleaders suffered 20 concussions, and girls volleyball players suffered 17 concussions. Three boys soccer players suffered concussions as did two girls soccer players, two girls wrestlers, and one boys wrestler. More concussions will occur during winter and spring sports.
Oshiro and others at the clinic stressed the importance of recognizing concussions soon after they happen.
"It's so important to diagnose them early because the more you rest in the beginning, the quicker your brain is going to recover," said Dr. Jennifer King, a pediatric orthopedic specialist at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.
Concussion symptoms include headaches, nausea, blurred vision, difficulty thinking clearly, difficulty concentrating, and sensitivity to noise or light. There can also be mood changes including irritability, sadness, an increase in emotion, nervousness, anxiety, need for more sleep or trouble falling asleep.
Research shows athletes who return to the playing field too early are at risk of a second more debilitating injury.
"It's kind of cumulative. When you get a second, it may take you longer to recover because the brain is still bleeding inside," Oshiro said.
"The kid's brain is a lot different than the adult brain. So there's some entity called Second Impact Syndrome that only happens in kids," King added.
She said Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) happens when a young person suffers a second concussion before the first has fully healed and that SIS can lead to death.
King and Oshiro said it is important for parents and coaches to educate themselves on concussions, particularly how to recognize a concussion.
For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control at the web site below.