SOLANA BEACH — San Diegan Tommy Mallon, a former three-sport athlete at Santa Fe Christian High School whose prep career ended after his third concussion in 2009, returned to his alma mater on Feb. 7, Santa Fe Christian High School, to educate current student-athletes about the impact of concussions in youth sports. Mallon was part of a free presentation led by doctors at the rehabilitation center at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas.
Scripps Encinitas has developed a public education and community outreach program to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of concussion, how to avoid them, treat them and understand their consequences.
Concussions account for nearly one in 10 injuries to high school athletes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to Scripps, a recent report showed that close to 40 percent of high school athletes who sustain a concussion return to play too soon. Sports-related concussions remain a hot topic, after the NFL recently implemented stricter guidelines for helmet-to-helmet hits. Locally, the CIF passed a rule in 2010 that requires that high school athletes suspected of suffering a concussion be removed from competition and cleared by a medical professional before returning to play.
After suffering a fractured neck and third concussion while playing high school lacrosse in 2009, Mallon and his family started a foundation that advocates for student athletes, www.injuredathletes.org. Through education, advocacy and sharing his story publicly, Mallon and his foundation, Advocates for Injured Athletes Foundation, hope to build awareness for youth safety in California, including concussion awareness, the important role of the athletic trainer in high school sports, and having certified athletic trainers available to all high school athletes to help prevent catastrophic injuries from taking place and support safer play.
Scripps Encinitas is accredited for brain injury, stroke and general rehab by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.