The ACC has paid more than $6.8m in the past five years for sports-related concussions. This has spurred on calls to take more heed of something which is being described as a “silent crippler".
Te Aorere Pēwhairangi, a Te Kāea reporter, is one of many suffering the effects of concussion.
Pēwhairangi explains, “The head is the most sacred part of the human anatomy. You need to protect your head at all times, if you don't you will face spiritual and physical imbalance. It leads you, if the leader is not aligned, the ship will not sail correctly.”
His concussion has resulted in him pulling away from his sporting endeavours and his work commitments. He says, Māori need to take more heed of concussion.
“Just from one tackle that took off my head. I stood up and couldn't see for two hours. It took nine months for all the side-effects to wear off,” describes Pēwhairangi.
In statistics obtained by Te Kāea, ACC accounted for nearly 2000 concussions in rugby and league last year alone.
- Over the past five years, $4mil of taxpayers funding has been paid out for concussions for the 0-19 age bracket.
- Over all sports last year alone, nearly 4,000 cases resulting in $1.5mil paid out.
Pēwhairangi says, “I believe that we need to let our kids falter, make mistakes, to be wrong, then they will truly learn, much like myself still learning today.”
The key is balancing good sporting endeavours with the safety of the participants.
“Regardless of the sport, there will be injuries. Brain injuries are hard to detect. If you break your arm, you can easily see that it is broken. But if you bruise your brain, it is not as easily detected,” added Pēwhairangi.