Heartland neurosurgeon talks head injuries in sports

The Center for Disease Control says there are nearly 4 million sports-related concussions each year, from professional to high school athletics.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 4:36 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Center for Disease Control says there are nearly 4 million sports-related concussions each year...from professional to high school athletics.

A local neurosurgeon says treating these head injuries is a big concern.

”When you see an injury like that it’s really heartbreaking,” said Justin Hutchings, Charleston’s head football coach.

When it comes to an injury like a concussion, Charleston’s high school football coach Justin Hutchings doesn’t take it lightly.

“Kid safety is number one every coach in Missouri we have to do NFHS concussion protocols standards and we have to pass tests and take classes online, so that’s number one and I know all coaches in Missouri work hard keep these kids safe,” Hutchings said.

Football players report the most head injuries, but concussions also happen in Lacrosse, soccer, and cheerleading.

Dr. Kevin Vaught at Regional Brain and Spine Center says anytime there’s a traumatic head injury it should be evaluated.

“There are risks of prolonging the symptoms or even worsening symptoms if you returned to play or until the symptoms are completely resolved. So, it’s actually very important that athletes or transparent with their trainers and their coaches so they know if an injury has occurred it can be evaluated,” said Dr. Vaught, MD.

He says athletes don’t always report concussions.

“The mindset use to be just play through it but I do think with today’s education that that’s probably less common but it is very important for people not only the student athletes but also the parents to be aware of concussions and if there’s any questions have it checked out but again for the most part even the trainers that are at the games are very familiar with this and everybody is much more aware of this today than say 20 years ago,” he said.

The CDC estimates that 5-10 percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sports season.