By Andrea Downing Peck
SIXTEEN;YEAR;OLD Isabella Oishi’s
life was turned inside out three years
ago when she was struck in the side of
the head by a teammate’s powerful pass
during a soccer tournament. Dazed but
determined, she finished the match before bursting
into tears on the sideline.
“I knew something was wrong, but I am the
type of person to play through it,” she says. “It
doesn’t matter if your wrist is bro-
ken or your ankle is sprained. I fig-
ured it was another one of those
injuries, when in reality you can’t
play through a concussion.”
The Seattle teenager had
joined the roster of athletes who
suffer a sports-related concussion
each year in the United States, a
number the National Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention
estimates to be 3. 8 million.
While football-related head
injuries grab headlines, no sport is
immune from concussion dangers.
Female athletes are more prone to concussions, perhaps because less-developed neck and shoulder
muscles make them more susceptible to whiplash-type injury.
Most post-concussion symptoms abate within
three months. However, Oishi’s head-
ache pain has been unrelenting.
Continued treatment and two nerve-
decompression surgeries have reduced but
not eliminated the nonstop ache.
“I call it the invisible illness, because if you see
my daughter she is beautiful, fit, smart,” says Janet
Dr. Frances Jensen, author of
The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s
Survival Guide to Raising
Adolescents and Young Adults
(Harper, 2015; not available at
Costco), stresses the toll concussions can take on young athletes.
“A teenage brain is not an adult
brain with fewer miles on it,” says
Jensen, neurology department
chair at the University of
Pennsylvania. “Head injury has a
special effect on the teenage brain.
You are injuring a brain that is still
For that reason, a child who
suffers a concussion typically will not receive a doctor’s OK to return to his or her sport for three to four
weeks, while a National Football League (NFL)
player may return to action in 10 days or less.
Concussion dangers have not gone unnoticed.
All 50 states have passed sports concussion safety
laws, which mandate education for parents, coaches
and athletes and require that any athlete suspected of
having suffered a concussion be immediately
Teenagers and sports-
for your health
signs of a
Sleeping less than
Sleeping more than
SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
MEDICAL CEN TER
CONTINUED ON PAGE 50
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouses and Costco.com offer a wide
variety of over-the-counter and prescription pain
medications, and members can have their vision
checked at Costco Optical centers.
High schooler Isabella Oishi
supports safe sports.