For NU football players and coaches, concussions are growing concern

Derek Radtke_Homecoming Football 1 (color) Every season, Norwich University football players are sidelined for long periods of time because of concussions, according to the university’s head equipment manager Scott Mullen.

“A concussion is a head injury and it is from direct trauma to the head or it can be from a whip lash type injury,” explained Dr. Sarah Davies (MPD), the Medical Director of NU Student Health Services. “The symptoms can range from nausea, vomiting, irritability, difficulty reading.”

These symptoms are sometimes enough to deter players from continuing their collegiate careers, according to junior outside linebacker, Matthew LaFavre, a business and accounting major from Milford N.J. “A lot of my teammates have suffered from concussions and it is an injury you really do not want to take lightly.”

LaFavre explained that many of his friends that have suffered multiple concussions cannot play for a season or two in order to give the brain time to recover and that often if a player suffers a second concussion, it may result in life-altering injuries.

In order to prevent life-altering injuries, many colleges invest in special helmets designed to protect the brain. Scott Mullen has, “bought the revolution speed (helmet) which are supposed to be forty one percent better than a regular helmet.”

Although the speed costs roughly $50 more than the $160 for the average helmet, it is worth it for the player’s safety, he said.
Mullen later explained that no helmet is concussion proof, but by pairing up the revolution speed helmet with players who have a history with concussions has shown great success in preventing future concussions.

Max Regan, a criminal justice major from Lowell Mass., has suffered more than thirteen concussions in his football career. However, he said he has been concussion free for the last two years due partly to new helmet technology.

Regan also stated that being concussion free the past two years was because of the help he received from Mullen and the Norwich University training staff. “

The equipment and training staff has been checking in on me ever since (my last concussion),” Regan said.

Mullen added that it is hard to prove that Regan’s success is solely due to the new technology, but it has definitely played an important role.

Vince Teodoro, a junior criminal justice major from Chicago Ill, will more than likely be wearing the revolution speed like Regan after suffering a pre-season concussion.

“We were doing a one on one drill with receivers,” said Teodoro. “The quarterback threw the ball: I made a break on it and went helmet-to-helmet with the receiver.”

Four weeks later and Teodoro is still ineligible to play with concussion like systems.
Although, Teodoro might have been able to return sooner, he acknowledges the seriousness of his injury and is preventing future problems by rushing his return.

Senior outside linebacker, Andy Mangin, a business major from Concord Mass., found himself in a similar situation as Regan during his sophomore year after receiving a serious concussion.

“I didn’t think I’d ever be able to play again,” he said. “It was my fifth diagnosed concussion and my doctor was very worried for me. I had very bad symptoms and obviously my health was number one.”

However, Mangin was able to play again after his doctor left the decision up him and his parents. Mangin chose to play. “Luckily all has gone well so far,” he said.

Not all collegiate athletes are as lucky as Regan and Mangin, according to NU trainer, Joe Martinez. The consequences can be extremely serious and even result in death due to second-impact syndrome.

According to Sports MD, second-impact syndrome occurs when an athlete rushes back to a sport too quickly after receiving a concussion.

“Because the brain is more vulnerable and susceptible to injury after an initial brain injury, it only takes a minimal force to cause irreversible damage. The brain’s ability to self-regulate the amount of blood volume to the brain is damaged resulting in increased cerebral blood volume which can result in brainstem herniation and death”.

The latest education about second impact syndrome has inspired many National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes to file lawsuits against the associations claiming that they were negligent in protecting, educating and preventing athletes from concussions.

Regan and Mangin both acknowledge the risks of continuing to play football after having multiple concussions. “I still continue to play football because I love the game,” said Regan. “It’s a huge part of my life I love my team, I would never quit on them and I try not to quit anything that I start, said Regan.

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