Sports are a great outlet for children to be active, develop social skills, and learn the importance of teamwork. According to The Boston Globe, three out of four American families with school-aged children have at least one playing an organized sport. This is a total of roughly 45 million children. It’s important that kids are allowed to play the sports that they love, and do it in the safest way possible. Unfortunately, injuries come with the territory, and some are more serious than others. Concussions are one of the most important sports injuries to recognize.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a concussion as a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. Concussions may also occur during impact to the body, causing the brain to shuffle back and forth within the skull. It’s reported that about 175,000 children per year are treated for concussions due to sports-related injuries nationwide.
Common Concussion Symptoms to Recognize
Concussion symptoms come in many different forms and have serious physical, cognitive, and emotional side effects. Some common symptoms of a concussion include: pupil enlargement, drowsiness, recurring headaches and slurred speech. In addition, many people suffering from concussions experience numbness, vomiting, confusion, and even loss of consciousness.If you are a parent, coach, teacher, or some other kind of caregiver to children, it’s important that you pay close attention to your child’s behavior after an injury. If symptoms seem to worsen, take them to the emergency room immediately. You should also seek qualified medical attention if symptoms do not improve in a timely manner.
Every athlete is different, but depending on the individual and the severity of the concussion, athletes are sometimes required to wait days, weeks, or even months before returning to athletic activities.Though good treatment for concussions is available, if possible it is always best to try to avoid these risky head injuries. Follow along for 7 best practices to help avoid concussions.
7 Best Practices for Avoiding Concussions
- Wear the Required Gear. Wearing the right protective equipment is often the difference between a minor versus a major sports injury. Be aware of the equipment that’s needed to ensure that your child is safe.
- Respect the Rules of the Sport. Rules are important. Game rules are put in place for a reason and it’s important that these rules are followed. Avoid illegal hitting and/or tackles to make sure that everyone stays safe.
- Teach the Basics. The best way to avoid sports-related concussions is to know the fundamentals of the game. By mastering certain techniques, it will help the athlete play the sport correctly.
- Build Neck Muscles. Studies have shown that by building neck muscles you can avoid a concussion. Young athletes who practice strengthening exercises for their neck will make their head less vulnerable to injuries.
- Stay Hydrated. Hydration is a key component in sports. Remember that athletes who want to perform at the top of their game need to drink lots of water. There is a direct relationship between concussions and dehydration.
- Listen to the Child. If your child is complaining of headaches or nausea after a hit, it is very important that you listen to them. If these signs are caught early on, you can make sure your child receives the medical attention that they need.
- Get Educated. Both parents and coaches are responsible for educating athletes on concussions and how to avoid them.
Preventing concussions should be a priority for anyone involved in youth athletics. Given this, staying informed about the latest research and best practices for concussion-prevention should be a priority for parents, coaches, athletes, physicians and anyone else involved in sports programs.
Concussions are not something that your child can simply “tough out.” And suffering from multiple concussions can lead to long-term cognitive damage. In fact, chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative brain disease that causes the brain to gradually deteriorate and lose mass over time. This disease has been found in 87 deceased NFL players. It is also common for many other athletes that play sports that include: boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, rugby, American football, and ice hockey.
For more information about concussions or other sports injuries, Orthopaedic Specialists is here to help. See additional blog articles we’ve written about managing a concussion for a teenagers. And for an appointment with a board certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine doctor in Louisville, Kentucky, call 502-212-2663 today