The Main Stream

Aug 24, 2013 2:12 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Football season brings concussions to students

TUCSON - Local high schools are preparing for concussions as football season starts.

The Amphitheater School District has used a computerized program to screen athletes since 2008. The football team at Ironwood Ridge still averages about 7 head injuries a season.

"Not good," the district athletic director, Joe Paddock said, "but with good treatment and good response, we have not had a serious illness come from it."

Julianne Carmona knows what it is like to have concussions. She was a cheerleader at Salpointe Catholic High School and suffered 4 that she knows about.

"I've been lucky that I haven't gotten any brain damage," she said. "It's not a fun experience."

Doctors have examined her, and she still does gymnastics. But she knows about the possible long-term damage with more injuries.

"A simple knock on the head by running into a door can get you one," Carmona said. "So I'm kind of worried."

People are only knocked unconscious in about 10% of concussions, according to Dr. Eric Sipos, who is a surgeon at Carondelet Neurological Institute.

"When we put our kids into a football uniform, on a field of battle," he said, "we are putting them at risk."

Most concussions come from basketball and football. The problem has always been there, but Sipos believes people are becoming more aware. He said it is easy to teach symptoms and consequences.

"We are not training neurosurgeons," he said. "We are not training healthcare providers. We need to educate the players. We need to educate the parents. We need to spend extra time with the coaching staff."

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