Another Border sporting export has been forced to call time on their career due to concussion.
Beechworth hockey product Georgia McCormick has had to call a premature end to her playing days after picking up her sixth concussion in five years during Australia Country's recent tour of New Zealand.
The 25-year-old has been playing hockey for 17 years, but admitted it's not worth the risk any more.
"My first one was in Melbourne in 2014 and I got knocked out," she said.
"I had another one a year later and was unconscious for that as well, but I had another three in the following years where I wasn't unconscious.
"I had one in February right before I went away to play for Australia Country.
"It was just at training and we were doing a drill and a girl cut me off and I ran into her and felt a bit funny afterwards.
"I was out of it for a couple of weeks, but I went to New Zealand and wore a helmet.
"I'd never worn a helmet before, but I went in to tackle a girl in the game and she fell on me and we tripped and my head hit the ground on my left side.
"It still knocked me out for a couple of seconds, but I think it would have been a lot worse if I wasn't wearing the helmet."
McCormick believes she hadn't received the correct treatment following her initial concussions.
"I went to hospital and wasn't really given a guide on what to do to recover," she said.
"It was kind of just 'go home and rest for 24 hours and get back into sport when you feel like you can'.
"I was still getting headaches in February and my doctor gave me a step-by-step process to go through with things like no screens and no reading until you can slowly get back into exercise.
"You could go back a step if you started getting symptoms again."
McCormick revealed she is still getting symptoms from the last concussion and is having an MRI scan this week to get a better idea of what is happening.
"It just gets worse every time it happens, even a little knock at training, it's just not worth the risk," she said.
"So many people don't know enough about it or how serious it is, they think 'it's just a headache and you'll be fine'.
"I'm still not back to my normal self.
"I don't know if it has fully hit me that I'm not going to be playing the sport I love again.
"It's taken a big toll on mental health not exercising all the time and that social aspect of the sport as well."
Concussion awareness still has a long way to go in Australia, according to a Border physiotherapist.
Josh Baker from Albury's Back On Track Physiotherapy is a leader on concussion testing in the region.
What was once labelled "a badge of honour" to go back out and play after a head knock is now treated much more seriously.
More and more players have had to cut their careers short in their 20s and 30s because of the ongoing symptoms from concussion.
Baker admits problems start to occur when a second concussion is sustained before the brain has fully recovered from the first.
"When you get concussed, basically an electrical storm goes off in the brain and it uses all the energy that's available to it," Baker said.
"Over the next couple of days, your energy levels drop right off and that's where the symptoms come from.
"Symptoms go away, but for those energy levels to come back, it can take two to four weeks, so you often feel better before you are.
"The problem with that is, if you sustain another concussion, your energy levels drop even further."
Baker revealed the return to play period can extend to three or four months if another concussion happens before a full recovery is made.
"If you go back and get injured again, your energy levels drop off as you're getting more and more concussed and getting less and less brain energy," he said.
"At a certain point in time, it's no longer a concussion where it's just a change in the way your brain functions, your brain tissue actually starts to die.
"That's where the real risk takes place.
"A lot of people say, "I can't be concussed, I didn't lose consciousness', but you only lose consciousness in about 10 per cent of concussion cases."
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Baker is urging Border sportsmen and women to take the risk away by putting a management strategy in place and undertaking appropriate testing.
"If you can be tested and find out that you've recovered fully before you return to sport, you're not as high a risk of having that second concussion," Baker said.
"We say on average, people can take two to four weeks to recover, so if you recover well you'll only miss four games of sport.
"If you sustain that second concussion before your brain has made a recovery, you can nearly write four months off.
"That's not only sport, that's work and your normal everyday ability to cope in general situations."
Baker revealed recovery from concussion can't be determined via blood tests or scans because there's no structural changes as it's a functional change.
"In an ideal world, we'd have people come in during the off-season and we do a baseline test," he said.
"We measure things like grip strength, reaction time and balance.
"We do a cognitive test too with things like 'which shape is the same as this shape' and combined they've got really good evidence of picking up a concussion.
"If we think you've sustained a concussion, we run you against that to compare you against yourself.
"If we don't have a baseline, there's other stuff we can do too."
Baker has completed testing on players from a range of sports across the region, but there has also been a focus on educating trainers at sporting clubs.
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