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Study: Teen Athletes May Not Take Concussions Seriously

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An alarming study about teenage athletes. It turns out young players are not taking head injuries very seriously.

Gigi Barnett talks with doctors and coaches about this persistent problem.

The hard hits in high school football come at a cost for some young players. It’s caused sports programs nationwide to tighten up safety rules and crack down on the head injury.

“Before, it was `Toughen up, get back on the field’ but now we know what the damage can do,” said Howard High Head Football Coach Bruce Strunk.

Doctors say even light concussions, if untreated, can cause severe harm to the brain like memory loss, major depression and even Alzheimer’s later in life.

But now, a new survey released this week shows young players won’t report a concussion, even if they feel the headache and dizziness that could come with a big hit on the field.

“These kids are playing for real. Unfortunately, if you’re playing for real, the injuries are for real,” said Dr. Marc Leavy.

Dr. Marc Leavy is a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center. He says while many coaches teach the dangers of concussions, some students overlook the warning.

“Football is not a contact sport. Football is a collision sport,” Strunk said.

Strunk says he no longer relies on the word of players to determine if they’re well enough to return to the game.

“I never ask if a kid has a concussion. I look at the symptoms. Are they there?” Strunk said.

Nearly half of the students surveyed said they would not tell their coach if they had concussion symptoms.

Doctors say the concussions aren’t limited to football but to other contact sports.

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