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World Cup and Concussions

Recently, during the Women’s World Cup semifinal matchup between Germany and the USA, two players collided and brought the concussion debate back to the front stage. Germany’s Alexandra Popp collided with Team USA’s Morgan Brian on a header in the box leaving both players on the turf for minutes before getting up. Brian appeared dazed as she walked off with trainers and Popp walked off with a large, bloody cut on the top of her head. Both players returned to the game and played nearly the entire match. Yet again, FIFA is left to deal with what some say is an inadequate concussion policy. Other professional sports are making strides in this department (albeit slowly) but for some reason FIFA is lagging far behind. So, what is a concussion? Simply put, it’s a traumatic brain injury that occurs when there’s a blow to the head or the head and upper body are violently shaken. They can cause headaches, confusion, dizziness, nausea, a feeling of fogginess, or localized amnesia. Most concussions are mild and people tend to not realize they have a concussion. In order to fully recover from a concussion, people need plenty of rest and time to properly heal. Sometimes when suffering a concussion, extra support in the form of a cervical collar is needed to stabilize the injured person’s head. In contact sports like soccer and football, it seems imperative that professional leagues and athletes lead the way in adopting concussion prevention methods. US Soccer’s Ali Krieger wears a concussion headband but it’s unclear if this piece of equipment actually works to help reduce concussion risk. The best thing any league can do now – professional, amateur, or youth – is to establish a steadfast concussion protocol for anyone experiencing even minor concussion symptoms. Winning or losing a game isn’t more important than an athlete’s long-term health.
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