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Young Athletes and Brain Injury

I ran across an interesting article today about the concussion dangers to young athletes partcipating in sports.

“Shake it Off” May Be Fatal Advice
50 Youth Football Players Were Killed or Sustained Serious Head Injuries from 1997 to 2007 – You Should Know

It really piqued my interest, because I know a high-school football player who suffered a similar injury recently, and was pushed by his coach to play even though the young man told him he didn’t feel right and didn’t want to play.  I don’t think my young friend was hurt by his coach’s tough guy mentality, but it’s a horrible situation to put a teen in.  Many young athletes live to play their sport and feel their very lives are wrapped up in their activity.  If the teen’s coach is threatening to kick them off the team if they don’t just play anyway?  Teen decision-making and social heirarchy being what it is, long-term health becomes a distant concern.

But, long-term health should be a first priority.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2001-2009, millions of children and teens were injured participating in organized sports, and of those kids, 173,285 suffered traumatic brain injuries.

We’ve dealt with many traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases over the years and talked with some very qualified Montana medical providers about TBI   — these injuries can be significant and devastating — particularly because the person injured isn’t visibly hurt.   There’s no good reason this type of injury should happen in children’s and teen’s sports – so I concur with the article’s four steps to help prevent permanent, life-altering injuries in our children and teens:

      1) Recognize the signs of concussion. Including headaches, confusion and memory loss.
      2) Remove the athlete. Even if you’re not sure the athlete suffered a concussion. The best course of action is one which puts the athlete’s future health first.
      3) Refer to a professional. You should let a trained medical professional evaluate the athlete to judge the severity of the injury and prescribe the best methods of treatment.
      4) Return only when cleared.

About the Author

Rebecca RutzRebecca “Becky” Henning-Rutz graduated from the University of Montana with her law degree in 2006 and has been working in Kalispell ever since. Becky has been working as an associate for Henning, Keedy & Lee since 2007.View all posts by Rebecca Rutz →

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