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Take Sport Brain Concussions Seriously

November 4, 2013
Plain English Version

A brain concussion happens when the head is hit so hard that the brain is jarred. It affects things like memory, balance, judgment and sleep patterns.

Most of the interest in brain concussions is focused on football injuries. But many other sports also can cause brain damage. Usually the damage is temporary, but a recent study should cause parents to take notice. Returning to the field too soon after a concussion can lead to more frequent and more severe injuries.

Experts say parents and youngsters have a “culture of resistance” to reporting concussions and getting treatment.

A committee looked at athletes aged 5 to 21 years old. In results of the study, they advise parents to keep their youngsters from returning to the field until a doctor has cleared them. About 90 percent of young people recover within about two weeks.

Most importantly, the committee said sports helmets and other equipment do not reduce the risk of concussions. Properly fitted helmets do reduce the risk of other injuries such as skull fractures.

The rates of brain concussion are higher among high school athletes than in college athletes. Soccer, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling and basketball are the leading sports in which concussions occur.

States are passing laws that schools must follow before allowing a player to return to the field. However, these laws do not affect the sports that take place outside of schools.

The committee called for a national system of reporting injuries. It also said more research should be done among younger children.

Source: The Wall Street Journal                                                                                         October 30, 2013

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