High school football is big in Texas. It is a time of optimism when every program believes they can win a state title. But a pall has been cast over one of the state’s most successful programs in recent years – Lake Travis High School.
Four Cavaliers offensive linemen missed games last season because of concussions. Senior Center Ryan Dolmanet though figured it was time to heed the warnings and dispense with playing a sport he had loved from an early age.
When asked by the Austin American-Statesman about his decision, Dolmanet was quick to reply, “It was a no-brainer.” This young man obviously had no desire to continue playing a sport where injuries could potentially have long term, devastating health issues.
On September 28, 2012, Dolmanet was concussed so badly that “he was forced to cut his class schedule in half, sit for hours in dark rooms and refrain from watching TV or using a computer for the remainder of the fall semester.”
Every concussion can be different in terms of severity, but this certainly speaks to one case where the alarm bells could not be ignored.
It is estimated that “47 percent of all high school football players suffer a concussion each season, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Studies show, too, that football players who suffer multiple concussions, even at the high school level, are at risk for permanent brain damage.”
How frightening can a concussion be? Consider this. In Dolmanet’s case, “in the past 10 months, he has seen three neurologists, two of whom recommended he stop playing football for good. He also has seen a vision therapist and a balance therapist.”
In the case of the vision therapist, “Dolmanet said a 20-week program of vision therapy has been beneficial. At the start of the program, he read at a third-grade level, averaging 220 words a minute. In 10 weeks, he has improved to 300 words a minute and has been able to concentrate better.”
Eventually, Dolmanet has reached a point that he is says he’s 90 percent recovered from his concussion. He also says that he “did not need a neurologist’s opinion to realize his football career was finished. He remains sensitive to light and noise, and he has occasional headaches.”
His parents though are facing some uncertainty. Dolmanet has two younger brothers who play football. You can be sure that mom and dad are on heightened alert.