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Football season over but concussions still concern for schools

PHOENIX — The regular season is over for high school football, but that doesn’t mean Arizona schools can take their eye off of the ball when it comes to concussions.

Football is the most dangerous sport. For every 1,000 so-called “exposure to injuries,” 12 players get hurt.

“Number two is girls’ soccer, with six per 1,000 exposures to injury,” said Dr. Javier Cardenas, a neurologist with Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. “That’s followed by girls’ basketball, then followed by their male counterparts.”

Cardenas said players in those sports now must undergo the same concussion education requirements as football players. There are several ways that soccer, basketball and other players can get concussions.

“Typically, it happens if there’s an elbow to the head, or if they strike their head when they fall on the court,” Cardenas said. “For cheerleading, if they fall, fall onto another player … if they’re a flyer, fall and hit their head on the ground, it’s still a major issue.”

Cardenas said that parents should also know the signs of concussions. The most common signs are headaches, amnesia and confusion.

“My advice [to parents] is to make sure that you’re educated about concussion and brain injury, that your athletes are educated about concussion and brain injury, and that your coaches and athletic trainers are educated and have the health of the student-athletes in mind before the sport,” Cardenas said.