This fall, millions of children and teens across America will be returning to school and many of them will be trying out and playing for their school’s various sports teams.
While the health benefits, exercise and comradery associated with youth sports is undeniable, parents must also educate themselves and their children about the potential dangers of sports-related concussions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a concussion is “a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.”
Largely associated with football, concussions are actually prevalent in many major sports including soccer, gymnastics, hockey and lacrosse and they can occur while participating in any physical activity.
To minimize the chances of sustaining a concussion, it is important for coaches and parents to create a culture of safety in youth athletics. This includes teaching proper safety techniques on the field of play and making sure that children follow those rules. Another key to reduce the chances of a child or teen suffering complications from a concussion is to educate them on their signs and symptoms. If children are aware of not only the symptoms, but the dangers of not reporting a concussion, they are more likely to inform a coach or parent when they experience one.
Symptoms of a concussion can include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Confusion, or concentration or memory problems
- Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”
It is important to understand that not all concussions are created equal. Those who suffer one many experience some, but not all symptoms and the severity of those symptoms may vary from person to person.
If you believe that your child has suffered a concussion, you should remove them from play immediately and have them seen by their healthcare provider who can assess the severity of his or her injury via an examination and conduct additional tests if necessary. Typically, treatment for a concussion involves rest and restricting the patient from activity.
If your child does not have a healthcare provider, or they are unavailable when they sustain a concussion, you should take your child to a nearby hospital emergency department, such as the one at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.