Concussions have become a topic of conversation across sports, but in football, it is a risk that players take every time they take the gridiron. From the National Football League all the way down, organizations have become more vigilant on the issue and are increasing the education and resources available.
In order to educate athletes about the risks of concussions and the best way to prevent further injuries if they do occur, athletic training staffs across all levels have worked to be sure athletes are educated as young as possible.
Tucker Harris just completed his high school football career and will be continuing his football career in college next year.
“I have been playing football all my life, but I guess the first time I knew about the risk of concussions was probably middle school,” said Harris.
Harris also noted that as he has gotten older, he has become more vigilant of how commonly concussions occur in football.
“When I got to high school, the issue of concussions was definitely emphasized more. Since we have a trainer here, she has always stressed the importance of letting her know if we feel like we have a concussion,” stated Harris.
When talking about how his trainer has helped educate him and his teammates on concussions, he noted that he receives a handout with the risks and symptoms of concussions before each season.
“Along with the handout, with us being football players, we know that the risk is a higher for us so our coaches and trainer work hard to make sure we know to tell them if we think we have taken a hit that may have caused a concussion,” Harris stated.
Although Harris knows the importance of telling the sports medicine staff of concussion concerns, he also feels like he and some of his teammates have possibly played through concussions.
This is a point that has been emphasized by the NFL, their players association, and their medical staffs. In the video regarding concussion education made by the NFLPA, Aaron Rodgers speaks on that being a big issue with concussion among NFL players.
When asked what the biggest obstacle in the NFL is to solve concussions, Rodgers said, “The mindset of players. Players feeling comfortable self-monitoring and if you have one telling somebody about it.”
Rodgers is not the only professional player who feels as if concussions go undetected because players do not report them.
Calvin Johnson, a former wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, says that he played through concussions during his nine-year career.
Johnson said that it comes with the territory of being a football player, but he is adamant about the fact that people should speak up about concussions.
With professional players speaking on the issue, Harris says that it makes younger players like him feel more confident to speak up if they feel they have suffered a concussion.