Navarre head football coach Jay Walls said he has seen more athletes diagnosed with concussions in the past two to three years than he has at any other time in his 18-year coaching career.
Raised awareness and the steps that must now be followed when an athlete suffers a head injury have a lot to do with it.
“We’re dealing with kids and it’s important to take care of their safety,” Walls said. “We’re not talking about a sprained ankle or jammed finger. We’re talking about something as important as an injury to the head or brain.”
Walls said if a player takes a hit to the head, the team uses caution.
“If there is any indication of a concussion symptom, we hold them out,” Walls said.
Dr. Colby Maher, a neurosurgeon at the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, believes sometimes doctors over-diagnose concussions, only because they would rather be overly cautious than risk further injury.
“It’s a tough call to make when you are trying to determine if a kid has a concussion,” Maher said. “There are no blood tests you can do or radiographic tests.”
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