With the release of the movie Concussion and all the surrounding research that has been present in the media, it is critical for parents to understand sports-related head injuries in order to protect their children’s brains. We often think football when we hear concussion.However, it isn’t the only sport where concussions are a concern. Soccer, lacrosse, basketball, cheerleading and many others are all sports where concussions are shockingly common.
Concussions cannot always be prevented, but there are ways to do your best to avoid them. For example, make sure your child’s coach knows and teaches techniques in a way that focuses on keeping athletes safe. Also, make sure that your athlete is not practicing excessively. This may seem like common sense, but more time spent playing the sport leads to greater potential for contact that could result in a concussion. Finally, stress to your child the importance of letting a coach or parent know if they hit their head during a game or practice.
It is easy for a young athlete to prioritize playing the game over being concerned about a potential injury. They often don’t understand how damaging a head injury can be. Make sure your child understands that they should never ignore a head injury. It doesn’t matter if it may seem minor to them at the time. If they experience one or more concussion symptoms or you notice them struggling with a symptom, make sure that they stop playing until you can come visit our office to have them checked out. For example, you may notice your child seems dazed, confused, or they may express visual abnormalities, vertigo, imbalance, a headache, feelings of nausea or sluggishness. Don’t second-guess when it comes to a head injury. If they hit their head and shortly after experience concussion symptoms, getting them to our office should be a priority.
Once your child’s concussion has been diagnosed and treated, young athletes should not rush back to play. It is important for doctors to decide when the athlete is able to resume activities. For example, most concussion symptoms will resolve in four weeks. Give your child the expectation of sitting out for a month unless cleared to play sooner by the medical provider.
We realize playing sports has dangers. These may include concussions, muscle pulls or various other injuries. However, don’t let that discourage your child from playing a sport. Playing sports help kids have fun and stay healthy. Being involved with a team can also help them develop leadership skills, learn to work with others and build self-confidence.
In conclusion, if your child does experience a head injury and symptoms of a concussion after playing a game or in practice, know that we are here to help.