Concussion seminar brings attention to important issue

Sports safety is serious business, particularly head injuries that lead to concussions.

On Jan. 29 more than 100 people attended a daylong seminar about head injuries from sports at the Osage Centre in Cape Girardeau. Dr. Joseph F. Waeckerle, a former team physician for the Kansas City Chiefs and clinical professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Medicine, spoke to the group about concussion awareness, having a "Team Plan" and the importantance of realizing concussions are not a minor event.

Sports Concussions: Facts, Fallacies and New Frontiers was the name of the seminar sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of Missouri. The plan Waeckerle referred to included participation from the athlete, coaches, parents, teachers and administrators. He said it was important to make sure the athlete is symptom-free before resuming activities.

Dante Vandeven, who played quarterback at Jackson High School, talked about being aware of symptoms after a big hit. For Vandeven, he learned from personal experience.

There has been more attention given to concussions in recent years, particularly because of professional football. But other sports can lead to head injuries. It's key for all parties involved to find ways to help prevent the injuries but also understand what to do if one occurs.

There's a lot to like about sports. They teach many good lessons, and we enjoy watching good competition. But it's critical to use good judgment and look out for the safety and long-term health of the youngest competitors. Seminars like the one held recently help bring attention to the issues, and we're pleased many took advantage of the opportunity.