26 Apr 2012

BGSU Football Doing It’s Best to Protect Players with Concussions

Author: Nate Dudzik | Filed under: Enterprise Story, Sports, Spring 2012

By: Nate Dudzik

During the course of a college football season, many players will go through their fair share of injuries. However, there is one injury in particular that has grasped national attention both on the collegiate and professional level.

Dwayne Woods, suffered a concussion last season. Photo used by permission.

For football players like Dwayne Woods and Adrien Spencer here at Bowling Green State University, they have each experienced their own number of injuries, but their incidences involving concussions were much more serious.

Recently on the professional level, former NFL players that have suffered concussions during their careers are suing the NFL for post-concussion symptoms and effects.

The BGSU football program is doing its best to follow policies to treat concussions properly and avoid any repercussions that the NFL is currently facing.

According to a study from the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, 34 percent of college football players have sustained at least one concussion, and 20 percent have had multiple occurrences. The effects of concussions are not to be taken lightly. Since 1984, 26 deaths are a direct result from concussions in football.

Dr. Donald Cameron, a neurologist in Ohio, recently gave a presentation at Wood County hospital on sport-related head injuries. He commented on the long-term effects of concussions and second-impact syndrome.

“Concussions disrupt functions, memory, general processing and complex functioning,” Cameron stated. “If you had one concussion, you’re more at risk for another. SIS is a series of repeated head traumas that can lead to serious cerebral problems or death.”

Here at BGSU, Falcons head coach Dave Clawson commented on the occurrences of concussions during a season.

“If I had to say a number, I’d say there would be one concussion every 4-5 weeks,” Clawson said.

Woods, the starting linebacker for the Falcons defense, missed an entire week with a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit.

“I didn’t practice except for light drills during the week,” Woods said. “I couldn’t watch movies or do heavy amounts of homework. I would have headaches, chills and nauseous feelings.”

With the current lawsuits hitting the desks of NFL representatives, college programs and conferences are doing their best to prevent concussion-related tragedies. Stephanie Dyer, an assistant athletic trainer with BGSU, discussed the requirements that all schools in the Mid-American Conference must meet.

“Every school in the MAC has to meet certain guidelines when it comes to concussions,” Dyer said. “All athletes and staff here at BG are educated about concussions and the guidelines they have to follow.”

Spencer, a senior defensive back, had to go through a series of tests following his concussion.

“I had to take tests every two days with the trainers and team doctor,” Spencer stated. “The tests were similar, but done separately.”

Concussions are also handled differently because not every occurrence will have the same result. A sprained ankle is usually handled the same way every time, but a concussion is always a new case.

“Every concussion is different,” Dyer stated. “One kid has a headache and the next one can have short-term memory loss. Regardless of severity, our players must pass the necessary tests before they step out onto the field.”

Conferences like the Mid-American Conference set up policies on concussions to avoid complications that the NFL is experiencing now, however, it’s ultimately up to the universities to follow these policies and guidelines.

“Even though we’d want our player back for the next game, we can’t make that call,” Clawson said. “We’d have a daily meeting with the trainers and they’d tell us the status of the player. Once they’re symptom free and 100 percent, they’re cleared for us to play them.”

“Yea I would say they’re doing enough here,” Woods stated. “They gave me medication, ran their tests and continued to check on me during the next game. Even though it was a game against Toledo, they didn’t force me to come back and gave me the okay once all my symptoms were gone.”

“Since my concussion happened in spring training, they just had me sit out the rest of the time,” Spencer said. “I feel they are doing what’s required, they do what they have to do.”

Despite the knowledge of the long-term effects of concussions, players like Woods and Spencer said they would continue to play despite the danger.

“I’m not worried about another concussion,” Spencer said. “I’d still play even if I got another one.”

“I don’t want to slow myself down,” Woods stated. “I’m doing what I love to do.”

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3 thoughts on “BGSU Football Doing It’s Best to Protect Players with Concussions

  1. Clay Leser Says:

    Baller, yo.

  2. Rebekah Dyvig Says:

    Very nicely done and well researched!

  3. Teddie Livingston Says:

    Great story. You chose a great person to do a profile story on.