Keep Your Brain Safe: Avoid Concussions
Keep Your Brain Safe: Avoid Concussions
While many people play and or watch their children play soccer, football and lacrosse on gorgeous fall days and nights, there is a growing awareness about the potential of concussions and how to avoid concussions.
More and more, people are concerned about concussion impacts on the brain through a wide array of sports and seek ways to avoid concussions. And that’s a good thing.
There’s also a good reason for the concern: 1.7 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year, with 300,000 football related, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
About two in 10 high-school athletes who play contact sports, including soccer and lacrosse, will suffer a concussion this year, the program says. And it may surprise some, but girls’ soccer has the second-most incidents concussions of all high school sports, next to boys’ football, and girls’ basketball also has too many concussions, ranked third of all high school sports. Unfortunately, 5 of 10 concussions go unreported or not even detected.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is formally defined as a type of traumatic brain injury or TBI caused by a “bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth,” according to the Concussion Foundation. The sudden movement can create chemical changes in the brain and occasionally damage brain cells. Doctors sometimes describe concussions as a mild brain injury, but the effects can be serious.
Collisions in football, such as between runners and tacklers, are often cited as among the major reasons for concussions in that sport. While it occurs mostly in football, other sports also see their share of concussions, and players, parents and coaches have to be careful. Studies are showing that heading the ball in soccer – which is a tactic by a player to keep controlling the ball – also results in concussions. People also have concussions when they fall off a bike and aren’t wearing helmets, and even in water-related activities such as swimming and water polo.
Wear a Helmet
Of course, concussions don’t always occur in sporting events. It could happen at any time following a fall, or in a car accident, for example. For best possible protection to avoid concussion in a car, seat belts should be worn. For infants and toddlers, they should be buckled in a rear-facing car seat, and in the back seat. They should be there until they are big enough not to be in those seats. To be sure, it is advised to check the seat owner’s manual and or seat labels. A seat belt should be worn whenever someone is driving in a car or truck. And drivers should never do so under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Children and Teens
Concussion symptoms may show up immediately after an injury or even a few days later. If your child or teen’s concussion signs or symptoms get worse, you should take the child to a hospital emergency department or see a medical professional right away. If a child or teen is suspected of having a concussion, call 911 immediately.
According to the National Institutes of Health:
Signs of Concussion
- Losing consciousness, even for a short time
- Trouble recalling events right before and after falling or being hit.
- A dazed feeling and clumsiness
- Unsure of what’s happening in the game, such as basics, like the score.
- Behavior changes
- Headache or pressure in head, double or blurry vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Lights or noise is bothersome
- The feeling of sluggishness, a foggy or groggy feeling
- Confusion, memory problems
Keep in Mind
Whatever you do, keep aware of this: more than half of the concussions that occur – they happen in children, and often when they are playing organized sports, according to the NIH. Try to avoid concussion.
UPMC Sports Medicine. Concussions Facts an Statistics. 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.upmc.com/services/sports-medicine/services/concussion/facts-statistics
U.S. News and World Report. Concussions. 2018. Retrieved from: https://health.usnews.com/health-care/for-better/articles/2018-07-09/3-underappreciated-sports-concussion-causes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traumatic Brain Injury & Concussion. TBI: Get the Facts. 2018. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/get_the_facts.html
Concussion Legacy Foundation. 2018. Retrieved from: https://concussionfoundation.org/
National Institutes of Health. A Bang to the Brain. What We Know About Concussions. 2018. Retrieved from: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/05/bang-brain
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