As athletes become bigger, stronger and faster sports have become more violent than in the past. The increase in speed and impact has led to brain injuries becoming a concern at all levels of athletics. That is why the UIL has mandated that all coaches attended concussion clinics. Friday at the Nacogdoches Medical Center area athletic directors and coaches listened as several doctors explain the dangers of concussions.
Family doctor and former athlete Eddy Furniss explains it is important to learn from new data on brain injuries.
"We have the data, now we need to use it," said Furniss. "We need to be aware of it and not ignore that these kids are taking risks. That is why it is helpful that everyone knows these symptoms and know what to do when you suspect a concussion in an athlete."
These doctors want coaches and fans to understand maintaining a player's health is worth the risk of simply losing one game. The studies show that those few seconds of violent blows to the brain can impact an athlete's entire life.
"The younger a player is the more prone they are to brain injuries," said Neurologist Joseph Scamardo. "The brain is still developing from the teenage years well into your twenties, that means being aware of injuries even in young athletes is very important because they can have a significant consequences."
As the game evolves it's important that coaches and trainers adapt in order to best help serve their athletes. Nacogdoches Athletic Director Farshid Niroumand was in attendance and explains why learning the latest on brain injuries is important to Dragon athletics.
"The safety of our students under our care is most important to our coaches," said Niroumand. "That means the more we learn the more we can become aware of certain dangerous circumstances. Educating ourselves now will certainly help us in the long run."
As the fall sports season approaches these coaches must be prepared for anything on the field.
"Those guys wear a lot of hats and sometimes they become the team physicians and even the team trainers in certain situations," said Neurosurgeon Mike Randel. "So it is very important to keep those guys informed as far as the research and so forth so they can be prepared when no other help may be available for quite a while."
Over 50 area coaches attended this first meeting and the Nacogdoches Medical Center says they will hold more meetings if the demand from coaches or parents becomes apparent.
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