Head Injuries in Student Athletes Symposium

Coaches watch a video that details the severity of injury that can occur from head-to-head contact in football.

Coaches watch a video that details the severity of injury that can occur from mild traumatic brain injuries.

Over 120 coaches, trainers and athletic directors, representing each school in the Kern High School District, participated in the 8th Annual Head Injuries in Student Athletes symposium, presented by Hall Ambulance Service in cooperation with the Kern High School District.  Hall Ambulance Medical Director Ron Ostrom lead the discussion which included information focused on the prevention, detection and education of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in our local athletes.

 Awareness of the impact and severity of football-related head injuries has drawn a lot of attention with the recent announcement of an agreement between the NFL and players in concussion-related law suits.  The result was a shared consensus that the focus, in-part, needs to be on promoting safety for players at all levels of football. 

Athletic department staff from each of the high schools throughout the district participated in the symposium, to ensure student athletes are safe.

Athletic department staff from each of the high schools, throughout the district, participated in the symposium, to ensure student athletes are safe.

 It is becoming clearer that such injuries are not limited to professional athletes alone.  According to Dr. Ostrom, “20% of the 1.5 million high school and college football players in America suffer some sort of head injury every year.”  He believes the commitment to education and research has, and will make a substantial difference in protecting younger players.  Dr. Ostrom pointed out the move towards heads up football as an example of finding a safer way to play football while preserving the integrity of the sport.  Locally, Ostrom and Hall Ambulance Founder & President Harvey L. Hall give much credit to Kern High School District Athletic Director Stan Greene for being a proponent to making the game safer for our students as evidenced through Greene and the KHSD’s support of this training.

Dr. Ostrom conveys to the media, the important role that parents play in detecting the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

Dr. Ostrom conveys to the media, the important role that parents play in detecting the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

While it is important for coaches and trainers to have this information, parents play an important role, too.  When a student athlete has encountered this type of contact, parents need to know and be aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion, post traumatic concussion syndrome, and second impact concussion.  “A parent knows their child better than anyone,” says Ostrom, “They should not hesitate to report back to the coach, trainer and physician any change in their child’s behavior, or alertness.  There are occasions where a player may not complain or exhibit symptoms until the next day.”

 Signs of concussion include: vacant stare, delayed verbal and motor responses, confusion, and memory deficits; while symptoms of a concussion include: headache, post-traumatic amnesia, dizziness or vertigo, and sleep disturbance.  Following a concussive injury, Dr. Ostrom recommends seeking medical attention in a timely manner, no same day return to play, physical and mental rest, and a five step return to play.

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