Ravens Teach Younger Players About Dangers Of Concussions

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Playing hard on the field can lead to concussions for some young players.

As Gigi Barnett explains, this weekend, the Ravens are making sure they understand the dangers.

Eight-year-old Thomas Rohal knows the signs and symptoms of concussions. He felt them not long ago at one of his football games.

“Our best hitter came in from the front and pushed the guy down and I was in the back,” he said. “So the helmet hit my helmet and I fell down and bumped my head on the ground.”

His dad and coach, Tom Rohal, knew what to do.

“If his head hurts or if he feels dizzy, pull him off and check him out,” he said.

It was the right move, according to Ravens physician, Dr. Andy Tucker, who was part of the team’s annual Football Youth Clinic in Harford County this weekend.

“The main message is make sure they’re aware of the symptoms and the signs so that they can be aware that there may be a problem,” Tucker said.

But Tucker says many times, players may not be well enough to report what they feel. That’s when a teammate needs to step in.

“You can’t always ask an athlete–no matter five or 35–to self-report concussion symptoms. So sometimes it’s a matter of their buddy noticing that they’re not acting right,” Tucker said.

He encouraged coaches and parents to drill that message.

“It’s okay to say something. I think the biggest problem is wondering, making sure that your friends don’t get mad at you, which I think is the biggest challenge for kids when they do that buddy system that Dr. Tucker talked about,” said parent Tia Medley.

And that puts the game into perspective.

“Whenever I get hurt and it’s not serious, the game is over the health. But when it’s bad, like a concussion, my health is better than the game,” Rohal said.

More than 300 young football players attended this weekend’s camp.

Last month, President Barack Obama called for more and better research into the effects and treatment of youth sports concussions.

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