BLACKSBURG, VA — Virginia Tech’s Tre Turner has had his fair share of concussions on the field during his time as a wide receiver for the Hokies football program.
“I’ve had multiple concussions. Some I let the trainers know and others I tried to fight,” said Tre Turner. “Somewhere between 4-6 concussions… basically twice every year since I’ve been here.”
Turner acquired his concussions throughout practice and game times. In hopes of keeping the concussion numbers as minimal as possible, each player is personally fitted for their helmet by the equipment managers with help from the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab.
“We go into the equipment room and the manager handles the rest. He just sizes us by putting different helmets on,” Turner said. “Each player and position is different so there are quite a number of helmets chosen by guys on the team every year. I used to wear a Speed Flex but now I wear the Xenith helmet now and it’s much better.”
Concussion awareness is a topic that is brought up in sports through videos and team meetings in all age groups. Turner was quick to exemplify his knowledge when asked if he was educated on concussions being an athlete.
“Oh for sure. I’ve known about them for years because of sports,” Turner said. “There is a concussion video we had to watch every year in high school prior to the season along with having to watch it again before starting college play.”
Along with being educated on concussions, student-athletes take a concussion test prior to the start of their collegiate career. This is taken when no concussion is present and then only retaken if there are symptoms of a possible concussion. The scores are then compared and a concussion is diagnosed if there is a large discrepancy between the two.
“I think the concussion test is up to par for most people, but I learned how to cheat it so there’s that,” Turner said. “I do believe that is a major problem because I know I am not the only one who knows how to cheat the system in order to keep playing in games.”
The Virginia Tech football program is the only collegiate football program in the country that has Doctors right down the road from their stadium working solely on concussion research.
“It’s an honor to have them,” Turner said. “They are constantly recording data from our hits and working their hardest to have us wearing the best helmets on the market. Thanks to their Star Rating System, we know we are in good hands.”
The Virginia Tech Helmet Lab is located in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at 343 Kelly Hall, 325 Stanger Street MC 0298 Blacksburg, VA 24061.