Hard Hits


Jadyn Mullaney

CJ Mullaney and Will Seriani

Concussions are one of the most common injuries that occur in athletic activities. However, concussions aren’t only caused by sports. Concussions can happen anywhere from a bump on the head at the park to a traumatic brain injury from a car wreck. In the United States alone, there are approximately 3.8 million reported concussions caused by athletic activities. When someone sustains a concussion, the brain experiences a force of motion that causes it to jolt and hit the inside of the skull surpassing the cerebrospinal fluid (a liquid that surrounds the brain separating it from the skull). Symptoms from a concussion can include headaches, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, confusion, difficulty concentrating, light and noise sensitivity, and difficulty participating in daily activities. Concussions are not something to be ignored. While some may be minor some can also lead to serious consequences including death. 

Jake Snakenberg was a 15-year-old freshman football player at Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado in 2004 when he died after suffering a concussion in a game. It was at least the second concussion for Jake, the first apparently so mild it went unnoticed.  His mom, Kelli Jantz, fought for tighter restrictions on concussions in youth sports in Colorado. The Jake Snakenburg Law was created from the incident in 2011. This later included the formation of the Return to Play Protocol, which outlines a safe progression of exercise to help youth safely return to sports. Locally, in reaction to this law, the Western Colorado Concussion Task Force was formed. The task force consists of local individuals including the D51 Athletic Director, athletic trainers, physicians/sports medicine doctors, physical therapists, neuropsychologists, school nurses, and other local community supporters. Over the years this task force has continued to provide ongoing education to students, parents, staff, coaches, physicians, and the community to raise awareness for the safety of all youth sports. Concussions happen every day to youth and adults. Recovery is the key to ensuring our brains remain safe.

Story source: Kari Mullaney