Concussion policy should be nationwide

This past Sunday night, Jay Cutler was running for his life. By Monday, he had probably forgotten that he had been knocked to the ground nine times in an hour and a half.

In one half, the Chicago Bears quarterback was sacked nine times by the New York Giants. Granted a couple of those sacks happened with Cutler running out of bounds, but he was knocked down on some other plays.

The ninth sack right before halftime was what did Cutler in as the force of the tackle slammed his head into the ground. Todd Collins came out in the second half as the Bears' quarterback, but later left after a blindside hit gave the aging back-up a stinger.

Cutler will probably miss this week's game because of the concussion he suffered, but the worst part may have been the backlash directed at Cutler by fans.

I logged onto Facebook the next day to see a status update asking Vikings and Packers fans if they were glad the "egotistical" quarterback suffered a concussion.

The most despicable part is that people were happy Cutler suffered a concussion. They were kind of rooting for him to get injured.

Obviously these people are complete fools. They have no understanding what a concussion is. No, it isn't as gruesome as someone grabbing his knee on a torn ACL, but the long term effects could be worse than that.

A concussion is basically brain bruise, and it can possibly cause major long-term effects down the road. Some athletes have short-term memory loss a few years after they are done with the game, some still experience dizziness while trying to do some of the simplest tasks and others have migraines for the rest of their lives.

If you have ever listened to former NFL quarterbacks Troy Aikman or Steve Young give commentary, you can tell they are dealing with memory loss and cannot think clearly.

Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly was doing an interview last month and talked about how concussions have affected him. His short-term memory is lost. He can't even remember movies he saw with his wife even a couple weeks in the past.

Fortunately, technology and research is starting to catch up with concussions. When Kelly played the game, concussions weren't considered as serious as they are now. However, after extensive studies to former NFL players' brains, researchers now can see the long-term effects concussions have on athletes.

NFL players are now being taken out of games if they show signs of a concussion, which are as simple as dizziness, grogginess and not remembering where they are. They also have to pass a serious of tests before they can play the next week.

Luckily, colleges and high schools are starting to take notice. Oregon and Washington both passed a rule stating if an athlete suffers a concussion, they must be pulled from the game or practice and cannot return until they receive proper medical clearance.

The Vermillion School Board followed that same example just recently by passing the same type of policy, except that it covers the whole student body, not just the athletes.

I applaud this measure by the school board. Concussions don't just happen on the field of play, but also on the playground.

Kids bump their heads all the time from just playing around, and if they suffer a concussion, it should be treated so it doesn't get worse.

Concussions at such a young age can cause damage to a child's normal  brain development over the long-term. It can affect how they perform in school and later in life. This is why Vermillion's policy is so important. It protects kids for the long term.

Some athletes may be mad when they aren't allowed back in the game after showing signs of concussions. But in the end they should thank the medical providers who protected them.

It is often said we only use 10 percent of our brains. Why damage the parts that we actually use?

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