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County's schools report 10 concussions last year

Athletes young as middle school age are vulnerable, new tracking data find

Staff writer

Marion sophomore Heidi Grimmett found out first-hand what it’s like to get a concussion two years ago when she dived for a loose basketball and hit her head on the gym floor.

Her head hurt when it happened, but Grimmett’s mother feared an even bigger problem

“She just wasn’t herself,” her mother, Melanie Grimmett, said.

They took Heidi to the emergency room, where tests were run. The tests showed a mild concussion. Nurse practitioners told her not to go to school the following day to “take it easy on her brain.”

Luckily, the longest lasting effect from the injury was a headache that lasted a span of days, Melanie Grimmett said.

“We’re very thankful,” she said.

Concussions are injuries caused when the brain strikes the skull. The injury leads to an altered mental state, which can, but doesn’t always, include unconsciousness.

Besides headache, symptoms can also include confusion, dizziness, loss of balance, drowsiness, double or blurred vision, nausea or vomiting.

Contact sports increase a participant’s risk of concussion.

Kansas schools now track concussions from school sports. As annual reporting grows and trends emerge, the Kansas State High School Activities Association’s sports medicine advisory committee will be able to make informed decisions about how to minimize risk and increase student safety, said Brent Unruh, office and operations manager for the association.

Marion County schools reported 10 concussions during the 2018-2019 school year. Eight were high school students and two were middle school students.

Among them, four were high school boys playing football, two were high school girls playing basketball, one was a high school boy playing basketball, two were middle school boys playing basketball, and one was a high school boy playing basketball.

High schools

High schools statewide reported 1,818 concussions.

Football: 903

Girls’ soccer: 128

Boys’ soccer: 89

Girls’ wrestling: 10

Boys’ wrestling: 139

Cheer: 105

Girls’ basketball: 137

Boys’ basketball: 66

Volleyball: 115

Gymnastics: 3

Dance: 12

Girls’ swimming and diving: 10

Boys’ swimming and diving: 3

Baseball: 27

Softball: 49

Girls’ golf: 4

Boys’ golf: 2

Girls’ track and field: 6

Boys’ track and field: 5

Band: 4

Cross-country: 1

Middle schools

Middle schools statewide reported 309 concussions.

Football: 155

Girls’ soccer: 5

Boys’ soccer: 2

Girls’ basketball: 52

Boys’ basketball: 21

Wrestling: 22

Cheer: 12

Volleyball: 27

Girls’ track and field: 5

Boys’ track and field: 7

Cross-country: 1

Last modified Sept. 11, 2019

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