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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.
A 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.
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.
On 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:
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.
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:
“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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