Voices of the Nation_ November 2015

By NFHS on November 10, 2015 hst Print

What are your biggest challenges in dealing with concussed athletes?

Cindy Clivio
Supervisory Athletic Trainer
Kamehameha Schools
Honolulu, Hawaii

I think there are two major challenges in dealing with concussed athletes. First, we have to continue to educate students, parents, coaches and school staff as to the individual nature of each concussion. Second, reminding everyone that we are only in our infancy in our understanding of concussions and that management will constantly evolve.


Lisa Walker, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Springville High School
Springville, Utah

My biggest challenge in dealing with concussions is getting the athlete and their parents to understand that cognitive rest is needed. Many are concerned with getting behind in the classroom and continue to attend class in the early stages, causing symptoms to rise, and then they want to know why they are not feeling better. Most understand the need for physical rest but ignore the need for cognitive rest.


Mike Carroll, M Ed, ATC, LAT
Assistant Athletic Director/Head
Athletic Trainer
Stephenville High School
Stephenville, Texas

Concussions are one of the most challenging injuries that an athletic trainer deals with. No two concussions are alike, so consequently each athlete with a concussion must be dealt with a very separate and unique way. Even with a standard protocol, the sports medicine team must approach each athlete differently. This means that every parent, coach and medical professional cannot compare an athlete with a concussion to any other athlete with a concussion. The athletic trainer must constantly monitor the athlete from the time of injury until completely released.”


Stacey Ritter, MS, ATC
Director of Sports Medicine
& Athletic Training
San Luis Sports Therapy
San Luis Obispo, California

One of the biggest challenges we have is the tendency for doctors, coaches, parents and athletes to want to base concussion management on the calendar, rather than on the symptoms. The number of days of rest becomes the focus, and distracts from the true medical model of symptoms guiding the treatment.


Steve Taylor, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Lee’s Summit North High School
Lee’s Summit, Missouri

My biggest challenge in dealing with concussions is the education of parents, coaches, administrators, athletes and even some doctors about why it is important to follow a proper protocol and what the protocol is. Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but I know it is important, so I keep working on them.


Tanya Dargusch, LAT, ATC
Athletic Trainer
Washington Township
High School
Sewell, New Jersey

The biggest challenge I face in dealing with concussed athletes is helping them understand that we know it is difficult for them to be out of their sport when they think they can “suck it up and play.” However, it is better for them to sit out one game than to risk sitting out the rest of their life.