Academic effects of concussions on student-athletes in HS

Submitted by DesHow21 on May 20th, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Absolutely fabulous piece on NPR.


We all only pay attention to the athletic effects of a concussion, but this study exposes the serious impact concussions have on their academic performances. Kudos to NPR for tackling this difficult topic and not just recycling the old OMG Myron Rolle OMG.

So keep this in mind the next time you snicker at some "jock" for not clearing a test that you cleared when you were in eight grade. I know a lot of parents who push their kids into contact sports in hopes of earning a college schollie but this really will be a sobering wake up call to all those pushy parents and even pushier coaches and most of all the teens who think they are indestructible.

The good news:

The House Committee on Education and Labor will hold a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday about sports concussions and high school athletes.

So apparently washington took some time off from discussing "important" topics like the BCS and thought they would give this a look.



May 20th, 2010 at 11:23 AM ^

I suffered two concussions in high school, one in gym and one playing football, that resulted in short-term memory loss. I never experienced any long-term problems, did well in high school, got into Michigan, did reasonably well at UM in the process. Not summa cum laude, but that wasn't going to happen, concussions or not. I've since suffered two more concussions, one riding a motorcycle and one ice skating, also resulting in temporary memory loss. Again, without any apparent long-term effects. What's in store for me down the road is a question, since there's evidence that repeated concussions can lead to Alzheimers, but so far no real problems (although my wife sometimes has her doubts, and maybe those who read my comments here do too, but I can just plead general idiocy...)

My hunch is that the real problems show up in repeated concussions over a short span of time, like the girl profiled in the NPR piece. Mine were much more spread out over time.


May 20th, 2010 at 1:00 PM ^

This is pretty silly. "It isn't 100% causal so we shouldn't jump to conclusions". You realize that getting shot in the face point blank doesn't always kill you, falling out of a plane from 30,000 feet doesn't always kill you, and if you wanted to get christian on it dieing doesn't even always kill you. Everything to do with people is a monstrously dynamic environment. Waiting for 100%s would be preposterous. Pointing out that we don't have them yet is also preposterous.


May 20th, 2010 at 11:38 AM ^

The more studies like this come out, the more parents will stop letting their kids play football, and the more likely that football gets regulated by Congress. I'm not letting my son play a sport which could lead to him having memory loss or Alzheimer's later in life. Yes, other things could also lead to those problems, but it's better to avoid obvious causes like this.

I think the increased knowledge about inherent health risks of banging into another human 80 - 100 times a day with a helmet on is leading many kids into other sports like baseball, basketball and soccer, and leading to the incredibly increased popularity of lacrosse.



May 20th, 2010 at 12:19 PM ^

This thread is what makes education oabout concussions so important.  They do not just happen to the "big, dumb, football" players.  Any sport where there is the potential for contact between two players or contact with a fixed object (e.g., gymnastics) ups the chance for concussions. 

Will people stop playing sports for fear of concussions?  Well, some parents may keep their kids out, but generally, no, people will not stop playing sports.  Therefore, it is critical that people understand the impact of concussions on day to day life and force anyone with a concussion to take time away from school until the individual can focus properly and to take at least two weeks away from the sport (with a cascading effect depending on the severity of the concussion and the number of concussions that person has had in the past).

El Jeffe

May 20th, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

It may not be due to the presence or absence of the helmet, but every epidemidological study I've seen on this lists football and hockey as having much higher incidences of concussion than basketball and soccer. Interestingly, rugby is high too, suggesting that it isn't the helmet but the rules of the game.


May 20th, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

My sisted had seven concussions between 10th grade and junio year of college.  She played both soccer and hockey at the D-III level until she had a concussion during a soccer game her junior year and was told by the AD that she was no longer allowed to play varsity sports because of the dangers.  As you can expect, this did not sit well with her.  That was until she was at a concert, got more or less tapped on the head, and doesn't remember anything the rest of the night (no drugs and no alcohol were involved). 

My sister doesn't show any long term effects at this point, but I have my fingers crossed that nothing serious shows up in the future.  Actually, the one long term effect she does have is that she will not play pick-up soccer or hockey games the rest of her life due to the ease of her being concussed. 


May 20th, 2010 at 11:56 AM ^

I don't mean to frighten you with this, but please read this about an English soccer player:

This in particular:

On 19 January 2002 Astle collapsed at his daughter's home and was taken to Queen's Hospital Burton upon Trent, where he died, aged 59.[3] The cause of death was a degenerative brain disease; failing mental ability had first become apparent as much as five years earlier. He had been an exceptional header of the ball, and the coroner found that the repeated minor trauma had been the cause of his death. (It should be noted that the leather footballs used in Astle's playing days were considerably heavier than the plastic ones of today, especially when wet). A verdict of death by industrial injury was recorded.

and my best to your sister.


May 20th, 2010 at 4:01 PM ^

I guess it's good that that House committee is holding a hearing, but what can it realistically do?  Pass a resolution saying that concussions are bad?