Don’t count concussed out of classes


Keith Hartman, Copy Editor

Some Pitt-Johnstown athletes take hits to the head, but refuse to let their grades take a hit as the result of their concussions.

During the fall semester sophomore Jennifer Drover suffered a head concussion as a result of a collision with another player during the first half of a soccer game. She sat out the rest of the game and said she had headaches.

After the hit, the first person she talked to was head athletics trainer Scott Mamula.

“I did a slide tackle in the mud to get the ball and just kept on going. A player on the other team hit me in the head with her knee.

“After the game, I e-mailed my professors and told them what happened. They were all really helpful and one professor e-mailed the head of the Engineering Department for me.”

Even with concussion symptoms lasting three weeks, Jennifer said she never missed classes and even took exams on schedule with the rest of the students.

Freshman Savanna Wingard also suffered a head concussion in a soccer game during her first semester.

“During a game, a girl grabbed me from behind and I fell back and slammed my head off of the ground. After the game, I didn’t feel bad, but, the next day, I had a really bad headache.”

Savanna also said she did not miss classes after sustaining the concussion.

“My parents made me go to chiropractor Larry McCracken and he had me see a specialist. They told me I should sit out of classes for a few days and even gave me a doctor’s note.

I didn’t want to, though, because it was my first semester and I was worried I would do bad in my classes.”

Women’s Soccer head coach Jim Herlinger said this is common with most of the women after any injury.

“They’re just so used to it. They wake up with a fracture or a break and just tough it out. They do their best not to miss classes and practice. Even if the girls can’t participate, they are here to cheer the other girls on.”

Diane Lenio of the Academic Success Center said students need a doctor’s note.

“We can inform the professors, then it’s up to them to decide if the student can make up the work.”

Lenic said that it is not something they would handle unless the student needs to miss three or more classes, and that they always need to have documentation.

Ultimately, excusing any absence is left to the professor.