According to Jane E. Brody, “mild traumatic brain injury” is a term that represents an extremely serious injury that has taken the sports world by storm. Countless athletes lives have been severely impacted and in some cases, changed permanently, by concussions. Concussions are the cause of half of sports related injuries from people ages 8 to 13. What can we do to help this terrible injury seise?
When thinking about this injury, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the day to day activities that could possibly lead to a concussion. Nearly every sport has some chance of players being at risk of getting severely hurt. While football is the most dangerous of sports, concussion rates are still extremely high in other sports such as lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, basketball, and more.
For my sports medicine assignment, I had to sit back and ask myself, “what can I do to help this issue?” First, I wanted to decide which specific group of individuals I want to work with. Because I have played soccer my whole life, I decided I wanted to work with younger soccer players. Below are pictures throughout my life of my soccer career!
Soccer is an extremely competitive and physical sport and players are at constant risk of injury, so I thought to myself, “how can I help this game become more safe?” I was raking my brain through the different options and I came up with a few ideas:
1. Initially, I wanted to create a type of headgear that would protect the individual from more impact. I quickly realized that this type of headgear is already popular and successful in the soccer industry. Below is a photo of my sister wearing this headgear when she was younger (I’m not going to lie, I definitely rocked this headgear when I was younger too!).
2. I decided to target a different area of soccer: referees. Referees are a crucial part of any sport and their job should be taken extremely seriously. Through my research, I found the requirements an individual has to take to become a referee. Below is a picture of Abby H. (right) and Emily R. (left)
Both are freshman at Chico State and both also were AYSO youth soccer referees. My conversation with them was extremely interesting as they confessed that through their training, they never learned in detail about the danger of concussions and how to help players avoid them! I was so confused by this because concussions are the leading cause of injury and it makes no sense why referees are not required to learn about how to help keep players safe from them. Abby stated that she never really learned what to do after a player hits his or her head. This is extremely concerning as one of the main issues related to concussions is going back to playing too soon. This could easily occur because the referee doesn’t even know the precautionary steps to take after a possible concussion.
I started to think to myself, what exactly could I do to help this situation? I decided to make a prezi powerpoint with more information about concussions for referees to review and study when they are in the process of becoming a referee.
Check out my prezi here!
After I made the Prezi, I decided to make a quiz to test how successful my curriculum outline would be to referees. I tested 5 different referees ranging from ages 16-24. I first had them take the quiz before looking at the Prezi. After that, I shared with them the link to my presentation and gave them 24 hours to look over and master the information. Finally, I had them take the quiz again and I recorded the change in their scores.
Take the quiz yourself! quiz a family member for a friend here!
I had these individuals take the quiz 2 times and the results were promising! the first quizzes had a range from 63% to 100% with an average of 81%. Once the individuals looked at the powerpoint and reviewed the material, every person scored 100%! I was very excited at these results as they show that my powerpoint and quiz greatly impacted their knowledge on concussions, safety precautions, and what to do if they were in a situation where they needed to assess an individual with a possible concussions.
There is a website called Heads Up that has a similar cause as mine. Mine is different in the sense that I want it to be mandatory for all referees to take before becoming certified. I am aiming to achieve this by emailing a very popular website that centers on the training to become a referee. I sent an email to the head of the website with my information and my opinion on the issue and my argument why he should change the training procedure. My questions and information layout if different from “Heads Up” and the direct information will greatly impact all referees and players.
I really hope they see and utilize my creations! I am confident that it would have an amazing impact on referees and their level of comfort surrounding concussions. I think that the more referees that are equipped and informed about concussions, the more safe the players will be. Overall I learned so much from this project!