Trevor Jacob, who is 20 years old says his memory is fuzzy as a result of having had at least 25 concussions. “I don’t remember a whole lot,” he says laughing, days before he makes his Olympic debut in the snowboard cross event.
Head injuries are a hot topic in Sochi… a few days ago Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova cracked her helmet in a fall during the women’s slopestyle final. Instead of being treated on the course, she slid her way down to the finish area and remained standing till the event had been completed.
U.S. head coach of snowboarding, Peter Foley said his athletes are required to follow a protocol in the situation that happened to Pancochova. “So the doctors examine them, and they have to do the baseline tests. And then they usually have to sit out for quite a while.” Still Foley said he understood why Pancochova was able to slide down without being immediately examined. “None of her people would be able to get there that fast, with as fast as she got up.”
The danger of snowboarding, especially of snowboard cross in which 6 racers fly down the course at the same time is what drew Nick Baumgartner, a 32 year old dad to it in the first place. He was literally knocked out for the first time during a race earlier this year, and he was not laughing about it. American riders take baseline tests before the season and have to be cleared by a doctor before returning to competition. They are then tested again 3 weeks after all concussion symptoms have cleared. Baumgartner passed all his tests…. but he asked his doctor if he could take more tests. “I wanted to be in the next race, but I want to make sure I’m OK,” he said. “A broken bone you can fix, but if you break your head, you’re not going to be fixable.” usatoday….. 2/11/14