Concussions: Growing epidemic in high school football - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Concussions: Growing epidemic in high school football

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It can happen in an instant.

"That's when it happens the most. You don't see it coming. You can't ready yourself for the hit," George Washington High School Head Trainer Korey Rueckert said.

Concussions have always happened in the game of football, but only recently has it come under scrutiny with all the new medical research."

"It uses to be one of those things that you didn't hear that much about," George Washington Head Coach Steve Edwards Jr. said.  "Every time a big hit would come it was more a bell rung kind of thing. But now with all the research they've done it's a dangerous situation."

 George Washington's Ryan Switzer, suffered a concussion in the first game of his senior season.

"It's one of those things where you don't think it's going to happen to you until it does", Switzer said.

Symptoms from concussion vary from headaches, dizziness, ringing of the ears, Temporary loss of consciousness and Nausea or vomiting.

According to the Center of Disease Control, more than 173,000 kids suffered traumatic brain injuries including concussions while play sports with football rated as the highest.

"From what I can remember, it was pretty scary," Switzer added. "Just the fact that I didn't know where I was or how I got there. I was kind of panicking for a little bit. That's not something I want to go through again."

 "His [Switzer] wasn't very bad," Rueckert added.  "It did bother him for a few more days, but he did come back fine. Continuing playing with a concussion is the most dangerous thing. If you do go back in play and they receive another concussion that's very dangerous and sometimes even fatal."

While the game of football and the medical research has evolved,  So has the equipment. High Schools across the region use new state-of-the-art helmets that are designed to help prevent concussions.

"This is the new Riddell Revo Speed helmet. This is the cream of the crop. This is five stars for concussion protection. The inside really makes a difference, just a different type of cushioning," Rueckert said." It just helps absorb the impact of hits better than the older helmets. That you can see here. You can totally see the inside difference. Different type of padding. This is old, worn down, an old air filter system. These are much more high technology, and help absorb the contact better. It does make a difference of getting a concussion or not getting a concussion."

 Thanks to his concussion he suffered back in August, Ryan Switzer has a new outlook on football. In fact, he learned a valuable life lesson.

"If you love something or do something you love, you want to give it everything you have and not take it for granted\ because that's what a lot of people do," Switzer said.