Concussion Concerns: Health Discussion Infiltrates Football

Kendall Bresee and Christine McKee

Urbana's football helmet worn this season.
Urbana’s football helmet worn this season.

A concussion, according to, is defined as a complex pathophysiological process that affects the brain, typically induced by trauma to the brain. Direct blows to the head and or indirect blows to the body cause neurological impairments. As many people know, concussions lead to headaches and nausea, but what many do not understand is that concussions also have an emotional and cognitive effect on people.

These multiple effects can lead to symptoms such as, sadness, irritability, change in appetite, sleep disturbances, and even difficulty with concentration.  Lately, concussions have been a huge topic of interest especially in the world of football.

The NFL is reevaluating its response to concussion and particular plays which lead to such injury, Will Smith is starring in a soon to be released movie called Concussion, and concussions even affect the UHS football team.

It is pretty common for concussions to occur during the high school football season. Urbana’s head football coach, David Mencarini said he sees, “atleast two or three every year that I’ve been coaching.”

There are different degrees of concussion. The level of concussion can depend on how or how hard a player is hit. Mencarini believes that concussions are all different depending on the situation.

“I’ve seen athletes have one concussion and not be able to play and others have multiple. Every individual is different depending on their symptoms,” said Mencarini. Symptoms differ from person to person but they indicate the severity of the injury. Some concussions can last days, while others can last longer than weeks.

There are no official ways to prevent a concussion from occurring. Although, the construction of helmets is continuing to improve. “no helmet can protect a concussion 100%. Nothing is bulletproof,” said Mencarini, because there is no way to predict how a player will be hit or how he will fall.

Concussions occur in all different sports but they are most prevalent in football. They may not seem as serious in high school but they have made a big impact on the NFL.

Chris Borland, a rookie linebacker, got a concussion in his first training camp in August. He continued to play through the injury and then decided that the permanent damage was not worth the risk. After realizing the long term consequences of concussions, he decided his health and safety were more important than being a superstar in the NFL. This realization brought Borland to focus on his life outside of football and decided it was in his best interest to quit.

“Sports end at some point but you have to live a long, happy, healthy life after the sport ends,” said Mencarini.