Doctors: Concussions a problem in several different high school sports

Published: Nov. 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM EST
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HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Starting next season, NASCAR drivers will be required to take baseline concussion tests.
The decision is strongly supported by medical experts, and doctors hope it will send a message to young athletes in every sport; concussions need to be treated seriously.
Marcus Osborne is the Director of Sports Medicine at Catawba Valley Medical Center. He tells WBTV that concussions are a well documented problem in high school sports.
"We're just a couple months into the school year, and already, Catawba Valley Medical Center has treated 30 high school students with concussions," Osborne said.
Those concussions have been reported in sports like football, basketball, soccer and volleyball.
"It's not just collision sports, or sports that really involve the head, a concussion can happen anytime." That's why Osborne said it's important for parents to be able to identify concussion symptoms in their children.
Emergency Room Chief, Dr. Jon Giometti, tells WBTV the most common symptoms include headache, confusion, and amnesia.
However, those may not be the symptoms your child will show.
"You may see they don't enjoy the same food they use to like. Difficulty sleeping, concentrating or memory loss, nausea or vomiting, these are all common symptoms of a concussion that may not be thought of by someone who is not aware of that," Giometti said.
If a child does have a concussion, the State of North Carolina requires them to be cleared by a physician before returning to sports.
Dr. Giometti said kids should also wait several days before hitting the books.
"Well the big thing is avoiding homework and avoiding school," Giometti said. "At a biochemical level, there has been injury to the brain and that takes time to heal. Anytime you are using the brain, including mental activities, you are not letting that tissue rest."
Experts say undiagnosed and untreated concussions have been linked seizures, memory loss, depression and death.

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