ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. — Cincinnati Bengals running back Brian Leonard has been playing football his whole life and he knows firsthand how scary a concussion can be.
Leonard said, “In a daze, you’re kind of lost, you don’t know what’s going on and sometimes you see stars. It’s kind of a scary thing.”
In recent years, doctors have looked more closely at concussions and more research has brought to light how serious they can be. With one concussion an athlete can suffer memory loss, nausea and vomiting. With a second, the effects are worse.
Many states, including New York, have worked on passing laws when it comes to the injury, but one big obstacle: Many athletes don’t want to leave the game, regardless of how they feel.
Leonard said, “Trying to get past the trainers and stuff. They’re lying to the trainers and doing stuff to keep on the field.”
Canton Central junior Jay Proulx said, “Last year I thought I may have had one, but I went through it.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100,000 school age children go to the emergency room each year for head injuries. While a concussion can’t be prevented, many schools across New York are doing what they can to educate their youth, and make sure they know how important it is to sit out.
Proulx said, “Have a concussion check list and if you have any symptoms, talk to the coaches and they’ll take care of you.”
Tupper Lake Central sophomore Tim Ropas said, “We run tests. Coaches pull them over and work with the hospital and try to make them better.”
But in reality, contact is part of football and while players will admit they don’t think much about it during, they know the risk is there, regardless how advanced helmets or gear get.
Leonard said, “I think everyone has that’s played football, at least once in their career. It’s part of the game and I wish it wasn’t there, but it is.”
A part of the sport that could put a player on the bench.