By Sports Writer Kate Gilliam

           Concussions are a huge issue right now in the sports world.  A bigger issue is the fact that athletes are getting concussions but are re-entering the game or practice. The question is how do we fix the problem? What is the solution?
           
            A common question many young athletes ask is “what is a concussion?” The lack of education on this subject might be a reason why athletes of all ages are getting concussions. They don’t know how to handle it or the symptoms of it, so how are they supposed to know to come off the field? 
           
            Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are caused by a hit, jolt, or blow to the head. This causes the brain to move and hit the inside of your skull. Concussions can cause damage to brain cells and can also create chemical changes in the brain. A concussion can be a serious injury depending on how hard the hit was and how many times the person has had a concussion prior to this one. Medical professionals consider concussions to be mild brain injuries because they are usually not life threatening, although certain cases can be serious. Symptoms of a concussion are headaches, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, nausea and more. Concussions are usually self- diagnosable but it is always good to check-in with a doctor if you have any of these symptoms. After you have a concussion it is good to stay away from any athletic activities because if your head gets hit again while your brain is still healing it could become a more serious injury.
 
            Something athletes need to be careful of is re-entering a game or practice after receiving a hard hit or possible concussion. It is especially tough for youth athletes to want to come off the field. However, it is very important to get off the field if you get a hard hit and are not feeling well. If you stay in the field after a rough hit you can get even more seriously injured. Knowing your body is important, if you don’t feel well you need to know to do the right thing for yourself.
 
            For now, there are no ways to prevent concussions but their are ways we can reduce the risk of them. By having a healthy life style, you will become stronger and healthier which will decrease your risk of a concussion. By healthy life style I mean, eating healthier foods, exercising more often, and just being active! All of these things are simple and easy to do and can help you stay safe and away from injury.
 
            Concussions are becoming a bigger and bigger issue in the sports world and we have to put a stop to them so that athletes can still compete at a high level without getting potentially injured.  By making healthy choices and being smart, we can all make this issue that is getting bigger and bigger, smaller and smaller.