I ran across an interesting article today about the concussion dangers to young athletes participating in sports.
“Shake it Off” May Be Fatal Advice
50 Youth Football Players Were Killed or Sustained Serious Head Injuries from 1997 to 2007
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 hierarchy being what it is, long-term health becomes a distant concern.
But, long-term health should be the 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 that 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.