By Anthony Serafino
Holt Journal staff writer
After the release of “League of Denial,” an investigative book uncovering the dangers of football-related brain injuries, the Holt athletic department is amplifying its concussion awareness for all sports. Rick Schmidt said the book clarifies the dangers of concussions, not just in football.
Schmidt, Holt High School athletic director, also said parents are growing wary of brain-related injuries.
“I’ve had multiple discussions with parents to ensure that Holt High School is taking all the proper precautions when it comes to brain-related injuries. It’s an issue we are not taking lightly,” Schmidt said. Holt student athletes are required to take preseason concussion tests.
According to Schmidt, coaches are aware concussions need to be taken seriously even if the measure is precautionary.
“Athletic coaches understand that concussions cause negative short- and long-term effects on the brain. Ensuring our students’ safety is priority which is why we have our medical personnel present at all athletic events,” Schmidt said.
Holt head football coach Al Slamer said concussion awareness has risen since his hiring in 2008.
“We always took brain-related injuries seriously, but in the last couple of years we have raised our awareness for these types of injuries,” Slamer said.
During the 2012 season, Holt running back Tyler Glover said he received a concussion scare while playing against Grand Ledge.
“I remember being hit hard while going up the middle against Grand Ledge. It’s a rivalry game so I always carry a physical mentality. I didn’t go down, but I definitely felt dizzy and took myself out for a couple of plays.”
— Tyler Glover
Glover said he agrees with Slamer on the rising awareness of concussions.
“Nobody wants to get a concussion, but during my time as a student I have seen coaches and trainers take brain-related injuries more seriously. Especially from Coach Slamer,” Glover said.
Lisa Miller, mother of two Holt student athletes, said she doubts whether or not playing a sport is worth exposure to brain-related injuries.
“Playing sports at a young age exposes our children to traumatic injuries. I’ve seen my son receive two concussions while playing football and baseball. Regardless how physical the sport is, your body is always subject to injury,” Miller said.
Miller said her son reported dizziness and headaches on both occasions.
“He came to me with a headache one morning and thought it was the beginning of a fever but it was a recurring headache which prompted a call to the doctor. Sports are for entertainment and enjoyment, but it’s not normal for the brain to be rattled multiple times. It’s scary when you realize the negative effects concussions have,” Miller said.