What is a concussion and how can I keep my kid from getting one?
Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury which occurs after a blow to the head or body. The shaking of the brain inside the skull injures brain cells and disrupts their function. It is an “invisible” injury because even medical imaging studies can’t “see” the damage done to brain tissue or brain circuitry. We can only presume the severity from an athlete’s reports, behavior and sensation. Most concussion symptoms resolve within 1-2 weeks, but sometimes persist for months or longer. Full recovery requires complete brain rest, which can be particularly challenging for today’s active kids.
Concussion rates are rising, with approximately 3.5 million sport-related concussions reported in the United States last year. Young, growing brains are particularly susceptible to this type of injury. If we want our kids to continue playing the games they love, we need to be especially diligent to protect them. We must:
- Understand and recognize the signs and symptoms of concussion
- Only allow an athlete to play when he or she is symptom-free
- Use core, upper body, back and neck strength training to protect against concussion
- Teach proper heading technique and the use of good body position in the air
If you are serious about preventing concussions, these articles will help.
To learn more:
Concussion in Youth Sports Part I: A Shaking of the Brain with Serious Consequences
Concussions in Youth Sports Part II: What Parents, Coaches and Players Can Do
Concussion Conundrum: Referees’ Role In Preventing Head Injuries
Concussion Roulette: Unload That Gun
To train better:
Strengthening Our Girls Against Concussions, Three Simple Ways to Build Neck and Core Strength While Keeping it Fun
Taking Action Against Concussions: 8 Things You Can Do with Your Team Right Now