Sports Related Head Injuries a Focus in Light of Player's Death

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TIPTON - Just on the heels of Tipton football player Chad Stover's death, numbers are showing more reported sports related concussions over the last decade.

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine shows a greater number of athletes are reporting concussions across the country. Tiffany Bohon, a physician at the department of family medicine and orthopaedics at the University of Missouri, said the reason for the increase may not be so clear.

"It's hard to say that it is in fact more kids getting concussions, or just more a prevalence of the public being educated and people coming forward and saying they've had a concussion," Bohon said.

Bohon said concussions happen when there is any whiplash or blow to the head causing the brain to shift inside the skull. Sometimes, the brain will hit the inside of the skull causing damage to the brain's nerves.

Tipton High School Superintendent, Steve Jarvis said it isn't just football players seeing these injuries.

"Football may get a bad rap because it is a violent sport but you've got a lot of injuries in soccer and other sports also."

The numbers prove his point. The Missouri State High School Activities Association released its annual interscholastic youth sports brain injury report showing a wide variety of athletics produce head injuries.

Football: 1,325
Wrestling: 218
Girl's Basketball: 209
Girl's Soccer: 198
Boy's Soccer: 194

But for those at Tipton, a number is just a number until it happens to one of your own.

Tipton's school colors have been showing up at schools across Missouri in support of Chad Stover's injury.

"We've got people who don't wear red, wearing red at ball games," Jarvis said. "It's bigger than Tipton. We've gotten phone calls, prayers, just a ton of support from everybody in the community."

Bohon said these injuries can have lasting effects.

"Now they're finding out a lot about NFL players who've had issues with possible depression, suicide things of that matter that could be related to concussions that might not have been properly treated back then," said Bohon.

Bohon said athletes need to be educated about their risks and take all the proper precautions.

"The most important thing to glean from all that's coming about about concussions is that we just need to educate everyone and respect what a concussion is," Bohon said.

KOMU 8 News spoke with Chad Stover's mother when Stover was still hospitalized. She said the family is grateful for the support it has received and in the future wants to ensure all high school sporting events have an ambulance and medical personnel on location. There was not an ambulance on scene during the Halloween game and it is not a requirement that schools have one on scene.