Get Concussion Smart

Posted on May 14, 2013, by

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Football players get most of the press coverage about concussion these days, but did you know that young athletes in other sports can also suffer from a concussion?  Kids who play contact sports like soccer, hockey, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, rugby can get a concussion but so can kids in non-contact sports like baseball, water skiing or mountain biking.

What is a Concussion?

According to the CDC, (Centers for Disease Control) “a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury or TBI caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works”.

Parents often don’t realize that concussion can also occur from a blow to the body that makes your child’s heads “snap” back and forth violently.  The CDC cautions that even a “ding” or “getting your bell rung” – incidents that seem to be only a minor blow to the head can be serious.

 Stand Up and Protect Your Child’s Long Term Health

Dr. Willa Fornetti, a non-surgical sports medicine and sports concussion specialist at the Kennedy Center in Ripon, WI encourages parents and coaches to have young athletes fully evaluated by a medical professional if they are thought to have suffered a concussion.  As a parent, stand up for your child and have them pulled from the game or activity immediately and seek professional medical treatment.  Any athlete who is suspected of having a concussion, at any level of competition- whether they are in professional, collegiate, high school or youth sports- should be immediately pulled from the game or practice.  This is the current recommendation based on scientific research that is endorsed by multiple medical groups who specialize in sports concussion management.

There should be no “playing through pain” when it comes to a brain injury or a concussion.  Playing smart and pulling any athlete who appears to have suffered a concussion is the best way to prevent further injury and potentially more serious long damage to athlete’s brains.  Athletes have died after sustaining repeated sports concussions when they should have been taken out of the game.

 Rest Athletes for Long Term Results

Concussion is a serious condition.  Research shows that rest – both mental and physical – is the key to recovery after a concussion.

If your child has a concussion, their brain requires time to heal.  The Wisconsin State Sports Concussion Law and the CDC advocate that coaches and parents not allow their athlete to return to play the day of the injury.  Not “until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.  A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first – usually within a short time period (hours, days, weeks) – can slow recovery or increase the chances for long-term problems.”