Health Matters: Protecting Your Head from Concussions

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A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in temporary loss of normal brain function. In extreme cases, it can be deadly or permanently disabling.

Concussions have become a controversial topic as more information about just how serious that can be has come out.

Two Bison football players realize the dangers head trauma can cause.

“I went through one in high school and it was one of the scariest things ever. I didn’t know what was going on and you know not being able to identify those things as kids is something that’s very scary,” says NDSU Quarterback Carson Wentz.

Bison senior quarterback Carson Wentz isn’t alone. One in five high school athletes will sustain a concussion during their season.

And recognizing a concussion is vital.

“It’s impossible to eliminate the risk of concussion but we do know that appropriate technique with their sport so USA football’s really working hard on heads up tackling and heads up blocking,” says Essentia Sports Medicine Doctor Dan Ostlie.

Although players hate sitting out, stepping back on the field too soon can result in permanent brain damage.

“They’ll typically run them through a battery of different tests to assess their memory, their balance, how’s there cognition or just how well they’re processing information,” says Ostlie.

“We have guys like out trainer Bobby. He’s the best. They’re keeping us safe out there. So if he notices anything or you’ve got a headache you’ve got to let him know. They do the right precautions and everything,” says NDSU Running Back Chase Morlock.

With so much information out about concussions and football, many parents are apprehensive about signing their kids up for the sport.

“Most of the school districts do recommend or require their coaches to have some training on concussion,” says Ostlie.

And fortunately, as technology advances, doctors are hopeful that the risk for concussions will go down and the ability to identify one will improve.

“We’re working hard to come up with better equipment and better techniques. I’m hopeful that helmets will get better and better and reduce the risk but I don’t think that it will ever be a non-risk proposition,” Ostlie says.

If you have received a head injury, doctors say always get it checked out. For more information, visit