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Concussions: A Major Headache in our School


Reid Barnowitz, a Junior Offensive Lineman on our varsity football team, is among a growing trend of athletes, both in our school and nation-wide, who is suffering, or has suffered from a concussion, the swelling of the brain, causing dizziness, headaches, and sometimes vomiting and fainting. It is generally an athletic injury, especially prevalent in contact sports, such as football and soccer, and falls upon a wide spectrum, from mild to very severe.

Concussions are a very serious issue, especially in a school with many different sports like ours. Hills West has had about fifteen cases of concussions this year, all connected to athletics, most resulting from soccer and football. “More people are starting to acknowledge there are concussions, so they are recognizing they could have one and are getting it evaluated,” said Nurse Patti. Reid Barnowitz is one of those cases. He suffered a concussion in football practice last June, and serves as an example of the dangers of concussions, and why they have to be prevented. In a freak accident Barnowitz hit his head against that of another lineman’s, with Reid taking most of the blow. Following the accident he experienced headaches and dizziness, but since the practice was over he was not checked on by the coaches and went home to lie down.

That night Reid’s parents took him to the emergency room following extreme dizziness and headaches. Although the initial doctor determined it was not a concussion, Reid did not practice with the team for the next few days. Following several days of extreme dizziness, weakness, and headaches, Reid was taken to a concussion specialist where it was determined he had a minor concussion. If the injury was originally diagnosed, Reid would have sat out from practice and could’ve been treated more efficiently. The diagnosis meant that although he had a concussion, because it was not severe he could resume football in a week.

After Reid came back to football practice, he once again injured his head in a collision; and now had post-concussion syndrome, which is a relapse in a concussion. This time the injury was much more severe. He was bed-ridden for most of the summer and only played a few downs in a football game this year. The news was very damaging to Reid, he was a dedicated player who was a cornerstone of the team, but couldn’t be with his team on the field. His advice is simple: “don’t try to be a hero, if you feel that something is not right and you hurt yourself, don’t overdo it.”

Reid’s incident is not isolated; concussions are a scary incident throughout the country and the school. Whether you’re an athlete or not, if you get hit in the head and feel dizzy, you should always get it evaluated by a doctor.