Your Health: Treating Concussions
Published August 29th, 2013
The NFL has agreed to spend close to $800 million to diagnose and compensate potentially thousands of retired players who develop dementia and other brain disorders they blame on concussions they endured during pro football careers.
The settlement, which is subject to approval by a federal judge, was announced Thursday after months of court-ordered mediation.
It came just days before the first game of the 2013 season, removing a major legal and financial threat hanging over the NFL.
With growing awareness about the dangers of concussions, many parents now worry a hard hit to their children during their high school career could lead to a lifetime of hurt.
The CDC estimates that nearly 4 million concussions occur each year, and that number could be under-reported.
For young athletes, having a trained eye watching for injuries could be the difference between getting back in the game safely or sitting out future seasons.
"Having us out there knowing what to do it's a big relief for the coaches" Head Athletic Trainer for Buchholz High School Ben Wood says.
Athletic trainers spend hours every week with student athletes making sure hits don't hurt more than they should.
For these players, the risk of concussion is real.
"If it's a leg or an arm we have another arm to compare it to," UF Health Sports Medicine Physician Dr. Brady Tripp says, "with a concussion we don't usually have that."
As difficult to diagnose as they are to treat, concussions can cause long-term damage.
"Concussion" refers to the complex process in which the brain becomes neurologically impaired.
It can only be diagnosed with a clinically trained eyes, like those of UF Health sports medicine physicians.
Symptoms are different for every person but usually include headache, nausea, dizziness, and changes in personality or vision.
If not treated properly, subsequent concussions can be devastating- even deadly.
"I suffered two concussions and I tried to play through them when I was in high school," UF Health Sports Medicine Physician Jason Zaremski says, "but a lot has changed in the last 5 to 10 years."
Namely, the passing of legislation in Florida that requires any athlete to sit out immiediately if a concussion is suspected, not returning to practice until they're cleared by a physician.
"When in doubt, hold them out, get them out of the game and make sure an athletic trainer or someone trained in sports concussions is managing that athlete," says Zaremski.
Florida is now one of 49 states to have concussion legislation on the books.
It's rapid progress in a short time considering the first ever law was passed in Washington state in 2009.
For more information about the treatment of concussions, visit
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