Local players talk about concussions in light of new movie

As the movie Concussion hits theaters this weekend, its putting head injuries in sports particularly football in the spotlight. In the movie, Will Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu the pathologist credited with discovering the link between repeated concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in sport activities annually.

Paducah Tilghman High School seniors’ Parker Belt and Luke Massad have played football for years.

“We’re just more aware of what can happen and how to help keep it from happening,” Belt said.

The two say they see a bigger emphasis on head safety in recent years in terms of equipment and technique.

“They put you in positions to where you can succeed on the field and not really be in a position to get hurt,” Massad said.

“Even if there’s a slight possibility there could be something wrong, they won’t play them just to keep everyone safe,” Belt said.

Even though research shows football has the highest rate for concussions in high school sports, studies show 1 in 5 high school athletes regardless of the sport will sustain a concussion during their season.

Senior Patrick Caruthers got a concussion last year playing soccer for Marshall County High School

“They got me off the field and tested me and figured out I was hurt pretty seriously,” Caruthers said.

Caruthers has had 3 concussions and now uses head gear to play soccer.

“The only regret I have is not buying it sooner because I used it the last part of this season and I wished I used it 6 years ago,” Caruthers said.

Concussion symptoms include headache, nausea, and dizziness. Statistics show 90% of most diagnosed concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness.

“It’s definitely something we should be taking a little more seriously and it has been taken more seriously in the last couple years,” Caruthers said.

The National Library of Medicine says nearly one third of athletes have sustained previously undiagnosed concussions.

McCracken County High School’s athletic director says it’s very important to have a medical professional on the sidelines for the safety of the kids at every sporting event.

Statistics show the 2nd highest rate for concussions in high school sports are boys ice hockey followed by girls soccer.

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