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Sports-related Concussions in School

sports-related concussion in soccer

Sports are great for our children. They teach values, discipline, teamwork, achievement and even how to handle disappointment. However, as parents, coaches and school officials, we need to educate ourselves on how to prevent sports-related head injuries, such as concussions, and to recognize the signs and symptoms.

sports-related concussionA study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows the number of sports-related concussions is highest in high school athletes, but they are significant and on the rise in younger athletes.

Sports-related concussions don’t just happen to professional athletes, such as football or soccer players. They also happen to our children, often in a place where we think of them as being safe — at school on the field.


Sports-Related Concussion Data

When Safe Kids Worldwide looked at sports-related emergency room injury data for children ages 6 to 19 in 2011 and 2012 for 14 sports, it found that 12% of all emergency room visits involved a concussion.

sports-related concussion footballOn a broader scale, according to the Brain Injury Research Institute, an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million athletes annually suffer concussions. Protect The Brain breaks down sports concussion facts for all age groups:

  • 10% of all contact-sport athletes sustain concussions yearly
  • Football injuries associated with the brain occur at a rate of one in every 5.5 games
  • 5% of soccer players sustain brain injuries
  • The head is involved in more baseball injuries than any other body part; almost half of injuries involve a child’s head, face, mouth or eyes
  • An athlete who sustains concussion is 4-6 times more likely to sustain a second concussion

Signs & Symptoms of Concussions

  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Glassy eyes
  • Disorientation
  • Clumsiness or poor balance
  • Slowed speech
  • Changes in mood, behavior or personality

In many cases, symptoms may last only a couple of weeks; however, they can last for much longer or lead to long-term problems that can affect how your child thinks, acts, learns and feels.


Practice Safety, Even at Practice

According to the Youth Safety Alliance, 62% of injuries take place at practice. That means precautions should be taken both in the game as well as at practice, too.

Safety practice recommendations include:

  • Require the use of protective gear, including helmets, wrist guards and knee or elbow pads
  • Make sure sports protective equipment is in good condition and worn correctly
  • Teach children skills such as proper tackling techniques in football and soccer
  • Make sure you and your child understands the signs of a concussion and how to prevent them
  • Both you and your child should prepare for an emergency by taking a First Aid and CPR class
  • Model good behavior by following rules and communicating positive safety messages

“World-class athletes are a testament to what we can accomplish when we work hard and dream big,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “Many of us learn life-long teamwork and leadership skills from playing sports. Being mindful of safety can ensure big dreams are not dashed by preventable injuries.”


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