Reporting by Dave Owens, 9 Sports
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- August 2010, Rick Wanzer remembers the month well. His son Ricardo sustained a concussion while playing football for Bishop McNamara.
"[It] was very scary ... the first 48 hours, he was having problems with vision, a lot of dizziness," said Wanzer.
Ricardo, now a junior in high school, hasn't forgotten the experience either. "Something like that hits you and just changes you completely," he said.
In a recent law suite against the NFL, Art Monk alleges that the league failed to protect players against long term brain injury risks associated with football related concussions.
DC native Cato June played seven seasons in the NFL. He is now a coach at Anacostia Senior High School. When it comes to his short term memory, he says: "[Are] you asking me or are you asking my wife? Let her tell [you] -- I can't remember anything ... the short term memory thing is real."
As a coach, June is at a crossroads, faced with teaching the game he loves and processing the new data on collision sports and its longterm effects.
Dr. Christopher Vaughan, pediatric neuro-psychiatrist at Children's National Medical Center, says that for youth athletes, the connection between concussions and extreme mood disorders is not well understood. Vaughan says the more immediate risk for them is returning to play too soon.
For parents and players, it's about weighing the health risks with their passion for football.
"When it comes to my son, I would love to watch him grow as a football player," said June.
Rick and Ricardo Wanzer made a different choice: no more football, they've turned to track.
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