WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The issue is as complicated as the brain itself.
In Westchester County, a panel of doctors, coaches and administrators have come up with a model program for dealing with concussions among student-athletes, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.
“This is not to scare kids at all, and it’s certainly not to scare leagues or parents,” County Executive Rob Astorino said. “It is meant to educate.”
A concussion is an injury that is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood.
For instance, Scarsdale High School senior Scott Cohen suffered a football concussion his freshman year. He was cleared to return to sports but developed a temporary side-effect that mimicked a learning disability.
“A teacher would show me something three times, do it with me, and then as soon as I was expected to do it on my own, I completely blanked and I couldn’t do it,” he said.
“Nobody really understood it,” said Shana DeCaro of the Brain Injury Association of America. “They just thought, ‘Well, if they’re well enough to go back to play, they’re well enough to learn,’ and there shouldn’t be any difference.”
The idea of the new program is to standardize the response to head injuries and concussions and remind parents, teachers and everyone that it isn’t just about football. It also happens playing basketball, soccer, even cheerleading.
“Actually, cheerleaders have a higher rate of injury than football players,” said Miram Levitt, medical director of Bronxville schools.
The county is circulating a “safer sports” handbook for dealing with concussions — explaining how to spot them quickly and advising athletes to avoid full-contact workouts when possible.
“We don’t hit during the week basically,” said Mike O’Donnell, athletic director at Stepinac High School. “We’re only allowed to hit in two 45-minute periods during the week during practice.”
The Sports Concussion Task Force began its work three years ago and is expected to continue advising local leagues and school districts.