Awareness for concussions in soccer grows

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Kaye Emack knows the dangers of concussions firsthand. She watched her son, Carter, spend two weeks suffering from one recently.

“A goalie kicked the ball really hard to the side of his head,” she said. “He walked off the field and was very wobbly but he never lost consciousness.”

Carter was helped off the field by a trainer despite getting hurt during a scrimmage. His club team, Birmingham United Soccer Association (BUSA), keeps a trainer at the fields at all times.

“It’s important just for the sake of any injury that can occur,” said Andrew Brower, Executive Director of Coaching for BUSA,” but obviously with things such as concussions that are going on now, it’s really good because it reassures us that our players are put in the best position to be taken care of.”

As a result of a law passed through the Alabama Legislature in 2011, all concussed athletes must be cleared for activity by a licensed physician before they can begin play again.

“We are actually not allowed to to see them until the trainer officially releases them back to us,” Brower said.

Having been through the process, Emack feels like the law has served it’s purpose, and enjoys the added perk of a trainer being available to help at all times.

“I think the appropriate follow-up is important, and I felt like because we had a trainer on site, and because she immediately referred us to a doctor, we did all the right things.”

While most parents agree with Emack about concussions and embrace the education offered by coaches, there are still a few hold outs. Brower believes continually teaching those parents who dismiss concussions about the dangers is the best way to get through to them.

“You do have some parents where it’s harder to educate them. They may not take the trainer’s or doctor’s opinion very seriously and sometimes we have to intercede with that to make sure we protect those players.”

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