OUR VIEWS: Concussions cause for caution

Aug 31, 2012

More often than not, the kid is back out on the field for the next play.

That’s fine when it comes to ankles or elbows. But when the injury in question deals with the head, then a lot more precaution needs to be taken.

We’re learning more and more about concussions, especially as professional football players begin to reveal the extent of the head injuries they’ve sustained through the years. Lawsuits have been filed because many of these athletes feel they weren’t given all the facts about just how serious concussions can be.

Look at Detroit Lions running back Jhavid Best. He took a blow to the head during a game on Oct. 16, 2011. He’s still not able to return to the field. He’s been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list by the Lions, meaning he’s eligible to return to game action on Oct. 22 — over a year after he suffered the injury.

The truth is, Best may never play football again.

On the local level, Grand Haven High School senior Abby Cole suffered a concussion during a volleyball match last week. She jumped at the net, was undercut by another player, landed hard on her back and her head slammed to the floor. She was diagnosed with a concussion, and her return to the team is up in the air.

Cole, who has signed to play volleyball at the University of Michigan next year, would like nothing more than to get back on the court. You can bet her coaches and teammates are waiting eagerly for that moment as well.

But it’s not worth it to rush back.

Cole has her sights set on several school records, and is a candidate for the state’s Miss Volleyball award, given out annually to the best prep volleyball player in Michigan. Winning Miss Volleyball would be a monumental accomplishment, but rushing back onto the court in an attempt to cement her status as one of the state’s best players would be a terrible mistake.

Head injuries are not to be taken lightly. We’re glad that school athletic trainers and coaches have put a tremendous amount of effort into developing plans to handle situations in which kids suffer concussions. No longer do coaches pat their players on the back and rush them back into the game.

The effects of a concussion can linger for weeks, months, even years. And while we love to make a big deal about the importance of sports on every level, winning isn’t worth it if we’re putting our young people at risk.

When it comes to concussions, take the cautious approach.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.
 

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