A concussion can be a devastating injury, but often proves to be an injury that athletes do not report or seek treatment for.
The Headway Foundation, a nonprofit founded by three former NCAA hockey players who all suffered athletic concussions, is aiming to change the way athletes view concussions. For the second year in a row, the Colorado College men’s hockey team is joining them.
“Our team will be wearing Headway stickers on our helmets to support the cause, we signed both team and individual pacts to spread concussion awareness, and we will have a social media presence throughout the week,” captain Mason Bergh ’19 said. “The stickers are a new addition that I think will be beneficial to the cause. It allows people to see the Headway logo every time we are on the ice and hopefully sparks discussion around concussions not just in ice hockey, but in all sports.”
CC hockey is one of over 150 teams participating in The Headway Foundation’s third annual Concussion Awareness Week Jan. 28- Feb. 3. All eight NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference) teams will be participating this year, along with teams in several other Division 1 conferences.
“Headway reached out to student-athletes from around the country to see if they are willing to participate,” Bergh said. “When the opportunity presented itself, we didn’t hesitate to join.”
Bergh is a member of the CC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and is serving as the team representative to connect his teammates with The Headway Foundation and their initiatives for this week.
“Having CC’s team take the New Tough Pact to report symptoms and manage concussions properly will hopefully inspire Colorado youth to do the same,” Sarah Renberg, Development Coordinator for The Headway Foundation, said. “The goal of Concussion Awareness Week is to raise awareness about the importance of dealing with the injury properly and starting a positive dialogue about the subject.”
According to The Headway Foundation, the New Tough Pact is a three-part pledge that asks athletes to “report possible concussion symptoms and stay patient during recovery, encourage brain-injured teammates to seek help and offer support while they heal, and to play the game within its rules.”
The New Tough Pact is intended to remind athletes that they are being tough by treating a concussion and waiting out recovery rather than playing through it and risking further injury. Concussion Awareness Week is one way that The Headway Foundation is spreading their message to thousands of student-athletes about how to “shift concussion culture.”
“Team Headway is thrilled to see the number of teams taking part in this year’s Concussion Awareness Week,” Renberg said. “The number of players involved is a testament to the beginnings of change in how athletes perceive concussion.”
CC’s participation in Concussion Awareness Week will also be documented across social media to share its commitment to the New Tough Pact and to encourage athletes to have conversations about concussions and brain health.
“I am lucky to have only experienced minor concussions throughout my career, but many of my friends and teammates have gone through serious problems that stemmed from concussions so to be able to speak out and generate awareness around them is important to me and the rest of the team,” Bergh said.
The Tigers will take on The University of Minnesota-Duluth Friday at 7:30 on Friday and Saturday at 6:00 at World Arena, their first home games of the semester. A video about concussion awareness will be shown before the start of each game.