What athletes, parents should know about concussion treatment


Unfortunately, concussions in sports are becoming too common. Because we put North Dakota first, I spent time learning what parents and athletes should know if an athlete experiences one.

A concussion is the scariest injury an athlete can suffer.

“I landed on my helmet pretty hard,” Zimmerman said. “Both there helmets hit my head pretty hard. I just got up super dizzy.”

Symptoms show up instantly or gradually over time.

“When I got mine freshmen year,” Zimmerman said. “I didn’t feel anything right away. It was like two or three hours later I started to feel symptoms, but like junior year, I felt it like immediately.”

Derek Zimmerman’s concussion during last football season was the second of his high school career.

“Lightheaded or sensitive to light or nauseous, feeling like vomiting or I feel like I can’t really remember things as well or focus,” Zimmerman said.

In the Bismarck and Mandan Public School system, if Sanford athletic trainers identify a potential concussion, they run a Standardized Concession Assessment Test (SCAT).

“We are instructed to and educated to take them out of competition and not let them return,” Century Head Athletic Trainer Dean Chumley said.

Once an athlete is believed to have a concussion, they are certain things players and parents should know.

“Keeping them away from well-lit areas,” Chumley said. “Keeping them away from screens, so no TV. We keep them away from computers at school. Obviously, they have homework on computers, so we need to limit as much computer work as we can.”

Every concussion is different and there is no set timetable for an athlete to return. 

“On average, it take about two weeks to get through the protocol,” Chumley said. “Obviously, everybody’s brain heals different.”

And missing playing time, can lead some athletes to be less than honest about potentially having a concussion.

“I didn’t want to say anything because then I’d have to miss the last few weeks of the season,” Zimmerman said.

Chumley also said that good diet can help athletes in the recovery process.

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