CBS21 Special Assignment | Concussion Concerns

CBS21 Special Assignment | Concussion Concerns

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of emergency room visits from kids with concussions, has doubled in the last decade, and soccer injuries are near the top of the list (3rd). Soccer though, is the only sport where using your head is part of the game. Now some leagues are using their heads too when it comes to making the game safer. However, some parents are not adjusting nearly as fast.

We met up with Kyle Schattgen to talk about soccer and concussions. He grew up in the ‘80’s and has fond memories of Soccer starting in Kindergarten. Kyle says, “I loved... mostly halftime. the orange slices right? The purple tigers was our first team."

Kyle loved the sport.. and still has some skills, but he stopped playing in 8th grade.. after too many concussions. He says, “I remember the doctor saying to my mother 'Kyle should start pursuing sports that are non-contact related'. It was after the 3rd or 4th concussion i had had, and it was advised to me, maybe we look at a different sport, where you are not at risk to bang your head as much.”

And this was back when concussions had an entirely different definition. You had to basically black out.

Kyle says, “Some of mine were bad enough that we knew what it was. But I can remember certain occasions of getting your bell rung as we used to call it seeing stars”

That’s how the President of PA Classics remembers that time period as well. He’s also a soccer coach, and we asked him “What would you have said 5 years ago to kid who took a hard bump?” He says, “Are you ok, did you see stars? ok, get back in there.”

That’s how far the sport has come in the last few years; new rules and guidelines culminating with US soccer banning headers for kids 10 and under.

Also, coaches can't be out here without first taking a 30 minute online class on concussions.

Here’s the course:

You can take it as well to learn more about concussions.

Yet many parents have not taken the course and are having a tough time adjusting to the new protocol. Harris says, “There was a young lady who appeared to me that she took a hard hit, on a header ,I pulled her out at halftime, and she came to me and said it doesn't feel right. I sat her the rest of the game. I talked to her dad, after the game and he said, “No, it's not a concussion. so I was faced with that, and he clearly wasn't pleased with me. But we have since come to a resolution on that and she will sit down for the rest of the season because of that.

PA classics has adapted to the new rules fast... even changing their playing style to one that focuses much more on footwork. That’s a welcome change to the folks who see so many athletes with concussions like Dr. Cayce Onks from Penn St Hershey Medical Group. He says, “When it doubt, pull them out.”

He’s seen this scenario: “It’s clear and they can explain that they took a hit to the head, 10 min later i took a second hit, and that's the one that made me sick to my stomach, I was really sick after that and couldn't really stand there to play the game.”

The problem is... even the doctor admits we need to learn much more.

So, given Kyle’s experience with soccer and concussions, you may think he’s keeping his youngster away. No. He’s taken the online coaching class and is coaching his son’s Under 6 year old team. He’s grateful for the extra knowledge he has now, and his own health. Kyle says, “I snow ski, water ski, play golf. no long term affects for me, thank goodness.


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