Concussions: a hard-hitting topic

Rebecca Allen, multimedia editor

“Take me out coach,” said no player ever.  Players often feel reluctant to tell their coaches when something hurts because they do not want to miss the rest of the game, or sit out for future games.  All injuries are potentially serious, but players should pay the most attention to concussions.

Senior Joseph O’Neill took a hard hit his junior year that resulted in a concussion throughout the first quarter of his football game. He felt dizzy, but persisted through the first half before telling his coach. 47 percent of all reported sports concussions occur from high school football.

“If you tell a trainer that something is wrong with your head, they kind of freak out, so at first I was hesitant to tell anyone,” O’Neill said.

The head Carlsbad High trainer, Larry Duensing, often deals with injured athletes eager to get back in the game. However, continuing to play on an injury results in serious long-term damage for a player.

“Players always lie to get back in the game, because obviously they wanna play,” Duensing said. “You’d be crazy if you didn’t want to lie about it because of the fact that you want to try to play.”

In order to identify the problem, Duensing asks athletes very specific questions and determines the extent of the injury. By getting to the root of the issue, Duensing decides the safety of play.

“If they tell me it hurts here or it hurts there, I know they’re lying to me to get back on the field,” Duensing said.

Senior Josiah Villagomez took a hit to the head at CHS’s last league game on Nov. 6, senior night, and he did not realize the hit resulted in a concussion until after the game.

“During the game my vision got blurry, but I thought I just got my bell rung,” Villagomez said. “I knew it was serious when my head started hurting really bad after the game.”

Players need to take head injuries especially seriously, because every time players enter a game too soon, they can damage their brains. This can affect them in all aspects of their life, from study habits to their state of mind.

“I was trying to do my homework and I felt myself getting dizzy so I had to relax,” Villagomez said.

Concussions can have serious effects on an athlete’s long-term health, so safety is the most important thing to remember in a contact sport.

“I have recovered from other injuries but it’s different knowing that this can damage me for a long time,” Villagomez said. “Maybe my whole life.”