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Concussions in Student-Athletes

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As a college athlete, I have experienced concussions and its effects on daily life.

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Concussions can have debilitating effects on student-athletes later on in life, while hindering their day-to-day lives considerably. The effects include emotional repercussions and increases in stress levels, especially for those with very active lifestyles.

Scientific studies show that a concussion is a serious injury that can have deadly effects. Although concussions are highlighted for contact sports such as football and hockey, they can also occur in seemingly “concussion proof” ones such as volleyball.

Student-athletes play their sport, go to class and try to maintain a social life like any other kid in college. This becomes increasingly difficult when introducing an injury that is detrimental to all areas of life.

In the case of a minor arm or leg injury, an athlete may not be able to play, but can still manage to attend class and mingle with friends. Concussion symptoms and treatments create a different situation for the injured person.

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Time away from practice goes without saying, but extended periods of missing class and the inability to hang out with friends (especially teammates) are aspects that make concussions so challenging to deal with.

Student-athletes are not always honest about symptoms that could point to a concussion to avoid being held out from their sport and school. But lying about concussion symptoms is becoming harder as all schools at the college level require ImPACT testing to detect them.

ImPACT testing or concussion baseline testing is widely used throughout the different levels of athletic competition. An initial test that measures brain function is given to athletes before the start of the season. If an event occurs 

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where a concussion is in question, the athlete retakes the same test to compare brain function to the baseline state.

While the short-term emotional and stress tolls are considerable, the long-term effects still trump them in severity. The accumulation of concussions can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy in which there are multiple injuries to the brain.

The risk and reward of participating in sports that can potentially harm your cognitive function for the rest of your life is only increasing in debate. Still, the camaraderie and fulfillment, among many other positive attributes that are associated with sports, continue to trump the fear of concussions.

I know the risks that concussions can pose, yet continue to play hard and enjoy my sport while being careful to protect the longevity of my health.

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Thanks for reading and be sure to check in later this week for more from me :) 

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