Nikolaus Dean suffer a debilitating concussion playing varsity lacrosse during his first year of university. His post-concussion symptoms persisted for a year before doctors cleared him to return to the sport they love. After his first practice back, they decided the risk wasn’t worth it and walked away.
The More traditional sports
Most concussion research has focused on team sports; so contact sports and more traditional sports. Nobody has really looked at non-contact sports, individual sports and more alternative sports; so despite the fact that there are epidemiology studies suggesting that concussion is occurring at high rates.
They find that head injuries are the second most common injury in surfing after lacerations. Studies suggest that surf-related concussion accounts for three to 37% of those head injuries. But concussion is so hard to quantify and get accurate numbers on. A person may have had a concussion without knowing it; also may not have report it to the study, so those numbers are guidelines.
Generally, they showed irreverent attitudes toward the injury. They would often downplay or trivialize the severity of it. It shows that they’re willing to accept the risks of playing injure; also to push through concussive injuries. This has been shown before in more traditional sporting contexts; but now it’s also being displayed in individual, non-contact, non-traditional contexts.
Injury happen on the first
It’s really interesting when you think about that; so because surfers don’t have teammates or coaches who may be pressuring them to play through injuries. Those external factors were absent. There were three main factors. The first was time. Maybe they had a limited time within a surf area. For example, if they had travelled to get to a remote spot; so they would be more inclined to surf through a concussion. Or if the injury happen on the first wave of the day.
The second factor was having others present in the water. Although they don’t have teammates, coaches or trainers; so a number of surfers said they’d be more willing to push through a concussion if they were out surfing with friends. And the last factor, which they thought was one of the most interesting, was wave conditions. A number of them said that was the No. 1 reason they would continue to surf through a concussion. It was quite telling that wave conditions would dictate that.
There’s little information for surfers right now. There are no surf oriented return-to-play protocols. There are no concussion waivers something a surf rental shop; so gives out that tells you the symptoms and what to look for in a concussion; so then you sign it and hold yourself responsible for pulling yourself out to appropriately deal with a concussion. They are seeing those things in other alternative sports like snowboarding, but surfing doesn’t have that.