Many of us have seen the news spotlights on concussions in the NFL and the new protocols for identifying and treating them.
What many of us may not have known is that head injuries are quite common in youth sports as well. Without proper identification and treatment, there can be long-term brain damage and an increased risk of dementia later in life.
Many youth sports carry a higher risk of head injuries. Soccer, youth football, and basketball all carry inherent risks because of the speed the athletes are running and the high probability of hitting another player or object while running at full speed.
Let’s define a concussion…
A concussion a traumatic brain injury or TBI. They can be caused by a blow or jolt to the head or sudden impact to the body causing the brain to move inside the skull. These impacts can create physical and chemical changes in the brain.
Urgent evaluation and treatment are required if any of the following are observed:
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Repeated vomiting
- Difficulty speaking
- Unable to wake up
- Prolonged, severe headache
Not all concussions are readily apparent at first, so after an incident, we must watch for signs of trouble, which may include:
- Mild headaches
- Unequal pupil size
- Abnormal eye movement
- Ringing in the ears
- Confusion or fogginess
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Unusual fatigue
If any of these signs are observed, it is recommended to have your child evaluated by a physician. They will diagnose any issues and provide a protocol and follow up appointments if testing positive for a concussion.
Your doctor will provide the treatment and timeline for a return to normal activities.
Remember to think safety first before and during new training workouts or competition. It is always recommended to consult a physician and have a physical before beginning a new training regiment or starting a new sports season.