For the second year, Vermont Academy has committed to supporting the Headway Foundation in their mission to shift concussion culture.
The Headway Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to promote safer sports culture, provide resources for patients and enhance concussion evaluation protocols and accessibility.
The Vermont Academy hockey teams are helping promote the message through social media, as well as taking the New Tough Pact, which challenges student-athletes to handle concussions properly. The three-part pact encourages athletes to (1) report possible concussion symptoms and stay patient during recovery, (2)encourage brain-injured teammates to seek help and offer support while they heal, and (3) play the game within the rules and avoid illegal hits from behind to the head a neck.
Head Athletic Trainer, Ms. Skylar Synder said, “It is so important that those experiencing concussion-like symptoms report them. The symptoms of a concussion can not only affect your brain now but well into later life, and if concussions go unrecognized or untreated they can even cause death. I think that for teenagers everything is about now, and it's difficult to imagine sitting out of the sport that they love, which is why so many concussions go unreported. Especially when there is tremendous pressure put on the kids by parents, coaches, peers and a lot of times themselves. We always tell kids that we want them to be playing just as much as they do, but we are trying to protect their future and health long term. Their brains are way more important than the game they want to play in now. I think what the Headway Foundation and our VA hockey teams are doing to promote concussion awareness is incredible, and my hope is that with enough conversation we can drastically reduce the number of concussions left unreported.”
Four-year senior and girls’ varsity hockey captain Gigi Wood ’20 said, “I support the headway foundation because I want all my teammates to be healthy and be able to play hockey as long they can. Raising awareness about concussions and breaking the stigma that "concussions are not that bad" is crucial in sports, especially hockey. In the past years, I have heard horror stories about concussions and it is important that if we see someone showing signs of a concussion to speak up. In hockey getting hit into the boards or getting hit in the head with a puck or a stick is common. Growing up I was more aware of concussions and their severity because my sister has epilepsy. One hit to the head or one bad concussion was my family’s biggest concern for her because it could make her epilepsy worse and may end her hockey career. I want people to be able to feel like they can speak up for themselves or others.”
On Friday, January 24 the Girls’ Varsity Hockey game vs. Brewster at 6 p.m. will be dedicated to Concussion Awareness. The girls will wear Headway stickers on their helmets and there will be additional resources in the warm room. Vermont Academy is committed to concussion awareness, our return-to-play protocol can be found here. For more information on the Headway Foundation visit their website here.