There are two things I know to be true: Victory is glorious and football is rough.

Football is, after all, a full-contact sport. It’s not for the faint-hearted. But it’s what these players signed up for.

Players take hits. They get knocked down and pushed around. But hopefully they get back up, brush off the blows and get back to the grind.

But sometimes, it’s not that simple. And players don’t always come out of the game with a blatant injury. They may not recognize signs or symptoms of an injury much more costly than they can imagine.

Concussions happen more often than you think – 1 in 5 high school athletes will sustain one in a season.

The past few weeks I’ve been working on an in-depth piece that talks about just that. But the occurrence of concussions isn’t breaking news ... At least it shouldn’t be.

Taking precautionary steps, keeping an open line of communication and taking recovery time seriously can be the difference between being sidelined for a few weeks and being sidelined indefinitely.

The dangers that surround the game, however, don’t have to turn tackle football into flag football.

Although we can never truly ensure 100 percent safety, we can take steps in preventing what could be life-changing or fatal injuries.

It isn’t an easy, straight-forward safety system, but it’s not impossible and it’s certainly worth the time.

As discouraging the topic of concussions is, I encourage you to read what I’ve compiled when it publishes Sunday.

I thought I knew all about concussions, but in my research and talking with area professionals, I found out I didn’t.

The first step in ensuring the safety of our players is informing ourselves and utilizing the services we have in the Roanoke Valley area.

Be smart. Think heads up.

Sarah Bloom can be reached at