Athletes take action to avoid concussions
Wright State women’s soccer player Liz Soto knows the feeling of sustaining concussions far too often.
For her, one more concussion could end her career as a soccer player.
Soto is taking advantage of new technology to extend her soccer-playing days. She wears a headband manufactured by Full 90, which cushions blows to the head.
“I love it; it is just like a headband so it is not that big of a deal,” Soto said. “My parents make me wear it and I am thankful that they do.”
Her coach, Patrick Ferguson, credits the technology in the Full 90 headband for allowing Soto to continue her soccer career.
“With that Full 90, she is able to play where 5-10 years ago, she would have had too many concussions,” he said.
However the NCAA sees this sort of equipment differently. In December, 2012, the NCAA issued a statement saying that these devices have not been proved to eliminate concussions.
“Wearing such a device may provide a false sense of security in the area of concussion protection by the player, their coaches and their parents,” the statement reads. The NCAA added that no headgear could completely prevent concussions.
Dr. Corey Ellis has seen a number of athletes as a team physician for Wright State and Beavercreek High School athletics. He said understanding the signs and symptoms of a concussion are the best way to prevent future damage.
“When they have symptoms of a concussion or completely recovered from a concussion, and then they get a second hit and play before they have recovered, that second hit can sometimes cause brain swelling,” Ellis said. “That can be catastrophic as people have died from brain swelling.”
Ellis grows concerned for his patients when symptoms from a concussion do not go away within a few weeks.
“It is a big problem as you might have two or three months of headaches or school during that time,” Ellis said.
Soto is not the only one taking advantage of technology. Doctors are using recent advancements in medical science to help diagnose and treat concussions. Ellis said that computerized tests assist, but are only one piece of the puzzle in helping doctors diagnose concussions.
“We are using more technology stuff to help us detect small differences in cognitive function or memory to help us indicate that they are having a concussion,” Ellis said.
After multiple concussions, Soto said she is more cautious about her play.
“I have been wearing my headgear and that helps a lot and I know what it feels like and I haven’t felt like that in a while,” she said. “Sometimes when I go up for a big hit, I am like, ‘whoa, I hope I am okay.’ I am lot more cautious about it.”