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Sports Concussions a Hazard for Youth

September 17, 2016
Plain English Version


How safe is it to send your youngster out to play football, soccer or lacrosse? Well, it is safe… mostly.

A concussion is a common head injury caused by impact. More than half of all emergency room visits by children aged 8 to 13 are the result of sports-related concussions.

Children who have had one concussion are far more likely to have a second. Children who have had two concussions have an even greater chance of having a third.

Many people think the reason fewer kids are starting out to play football is the danger of concussion.

The biggest problem is that most high school or college football players fail to report their concussions. Players will go back into playing sooner than they should. Sometimes they even go back into the same game.

Concussions are sometimes called “dings” or “bell ringers.” They should be called what they are: mild traumatic brain injuries. Direct or indirect blows to the head cause them. You do not have to lose consciousness. You do not have to hit your head. A whiplash injury also can cause concussions.

Assessments done on the sidelines miss many concussions.

For boys, tackle football is the cause of the most athletic concussions. For girls, soccer is the riskiest. Heading the soccer ball is not as risky as direct body contact. Girls’ basketball is far more risky than boys’ basketball. More concussions are happening to gymnasts. Swimming is the safest sport.

What to look for:

  • Difficulty in thinking clearly, difficulty in concentrating or loss of memory.
  • Headache, blurry vision, queasiness or vomiting. Also, dizziness or balance problems or sensitivity to noise or light.
  • Irritability, moodiness, sadness or nervousness.
  •  Excessive sleepiness or difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep.

Watch out if symptoms get worse. Get to a health professional as soon as you can.

Source: The New York Times August 24, 2015

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