Every year thousands of Floridians suffer traumatic brain injuries. Many of the injured are high school athletes, who get back in the game after suffering a concussion. Legislation would take the decision to keep playing out of the hands of players and coaches and make doctors decide.
Tallahassee, FL — February 29, 2012 —
High school junior David Goldstein’s new game is politics. David suffered a concussion during a championship soccer game, and played through his injury.
“We were losing two nothing and I figured I need do everything I can for my team,” said David.
It was a dangerous decision.
“For over three months after my collision, I was sensitive to light and sound, my balance was distorted. I was depressed,” said David.
Athletes who keep playing after suffering a concussion risk brain injury or even death, but in the past it was expected; even applauded. Coaches would perform an on field test. A right answer got the player back in the game. There’s just one huge problem; most coaches aren’t doctors.
“For too long we have said you know what, shake it off, you’re fine, it’s just a bump on the head, go on and get back in the game,” said Flores.
State Senator Anitere Flores is sponsoring a bill requiring medical professionals to decide if an injured athlete can keep playing.
“It has to be someone trained in the management of concussion,” said Flores.
As for David, he’s back on the soccer field “There are bigger things than one game,” he said, and better equipped to protect his health.
The Florida High School Athletic Association has already adopted rules to protect players who’ve suffered concussions. A spokesman for the FHSAA says the legislation will help solidify their new rules.
After his own brain injury, a South Florida student works to get sideline concussion screening for all of Miami-Dade County.
MIAMI (WSVN) — A South Florida student athlete is getting to work to prevent and treat concussions in Miami-Dade County high schools.
Sixteen-year-old David Goldstein knows how devastating a concussion can be. Goldstein is a Ransom Everglades High School sophomore and has spent months living a nightmare after suffering a serious concussion while playing soccer.
After months of research and work, about 120 athletic directors from across the Miami-Dade school district gathered at the Lois Pope Life Center in Miami Thursday to learn the proper ways to treat concussions. “It’s really important to get the word out to the families so they understand,” said Marc Buoniconti of the Miami Life Project to Cure Paralysis, “and being involved today with all these athletic directors, it really helps a great deal because know we can understand the short term and long term impacts of concussions.”
Goldstein got to work after suffering his concussion and has helped raise over $8,000 at Ransom Everglades to help fund testing for student athletes all over Miami-Dade County. “You have this super vision of concussions in the NFL and in pro sports, in collage sports. You don’t see that at the high school level where most of the concussions in this country occur, so it seems logical to me to do what I can to help the kids,” said Goldstein.
Daniel Cuadra is the Athletic Director at Ronald Reagan Senior High in Doral. He said he has seen the consequences a concussion can have on a student athlete. “I have definitely seen, especially during kick off, some athletes get hit pretty hard, and I’m looking at them and, wow, they can’t even return to play, and I send them to a neurologist,” said Cuadra.
Goldstein’s work is far from over. “I’ve been working on the concussion legislation that will be going through Florida congress later this year. People in Tallahassee are supporting me, my friends, my school. It’s all good,” he said.
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Just this week the NFL is starting to suspend players for vicious head hits. It’s a problem that starts in high school. The number of student athletes suffering head injuries is on the rise. 7s Richard Lemus has more about this Concussion Concern.
WSVN — It’s these violent helmet to helmet hits which prompted the NFL to punish players with hefty fines. From pro football to high school soccer, there are 100s of Youtube videos showing bone crunching hits on the field.
15-year-old David Goldstein knows firsthand how that feels.
David Goldstein: “A ball was rocketed at my head. I was dizzy and in a lot of pain.”
He got his first concussion playing soccer at age 12. His second came after a head to head collision with another player.
David Goldstein: “I was in a lot of pain, seeing stars.”
Both times David went right back in the game. Then in January during the district final against rival Gulliver Prep…
David Goldstein: “I’m thrown into the game and it’s the most important game I’ve ever played in my life.”
Another head to head collision video shows David stumbling across the field holding his head again. He continued playing, but after the game he collapsed.
David Goldstein: “Just thinking about how much it hurt was unbelievable. I couldn’t move I was in so much pain.”
Dr. Gillian Hotz: “We’re really worried now about the young and developing brains, so multiple hits of this type on the brain will really play havoc later on in life.”
Dr. Gillian Hotz of the concussion program at UM says, scientists are starting to realize even one hit can cause brain damage later in life.
Coach Mo Blake deals with injured student athletes at Ransom Everglades. He knows the tremendous pressure they’re under to perform.
Mo Blake: “If they are trying to mask the injury or say ‘I’m OK just give me a couple minutes,’ that’s where we as the coaches, adults and trainers have to really look out what’s best for the kid.”
That’s why school adminstrators at Ransom have implemented the Impact Test for all student athletes.
Claude Grubair: “You take it to get a baseline of where you are under your normal condition, and then you take the post-injury test.”
The Impact Test uses words and shapes to test a student’s memory, mental speed and reflexes. Following a head injury, the student repeats the test if there are any changes in thought pattern any red flags at, all the child is sent for medical treatment right away.
Dr. Gillian Hotz: “We’re able to take a look at the baseline testing and the repeated testing and take a look at the differences and make the proper recommendations.”
Coach Blake says the impact test leaves nothing to chance if a student tries to cover up an injury. The test tells the truth something coaches are glad to have.
Mo Blake: “To not use this tool I think would be detrimental to the student athletes.”
David wishes he had the impact test after his first concussion.
David Goldstein: “If I had that support and that knowledge before my situation would have been a lot better.”
That’s why he is now behind a massive effort to get the impact test into more schools.
David Goldstein: “The initiative now is to raise enough money to provide impact testing for all the public schools in Miami-Dade County with athletic programs.”
Months later David has been cleared to go back to the game he loves.
David Goldstein: “Having all of this behind me gives me the confidence to go back on the soccer field.”
Knowing the impact test and his doctor’s support lowers his concussion concern.
Richard Lemus: “Congress is considering a bill that would establish standards for student athletes who get concussions.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Gillian Hotz
UHealth Sports Medicine
Tel: (305) 243-3000