Heading back to school also means the beginning of fall sports — a great way for children and teens to stay healthy and learn the value of teamwork. If your child is enrolled in a sport, it is important to keep safety in mind and take steps to ensure sports are being played as safely as possible to avoid injury.
One of the injuries that can occur is a concussion. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around in the skull, creating chemical changes and/or stretching and damaging brain cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The effects of a concussion can be serious.
Keeping Children and Teens Safe
- Ask your child’s coach if they have a concussion action plan and work with them coach to teach players ways to lower the chances of a concussion.
- 25% of the concussions reported among high school athletes result from aggressive or illegal play. Ensure that your child follows the rules of the sport and practices good sportsmanship.
- When appropriate for the sport, make sure they wear the proper safety equipment such as helmets. Follow these tips for helmet safety.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
- Appears dazed
- Forgets instructions, or is confused about an assignment
- Moves clumsily
- Responds to questions slowly
- Loss of consciousness
- Displays mood, behavior or personality changes
- Poor memory recall
- Headache or pressure in the head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy or foggy
Concussion Action Plan
If you suspect an athlete has a concussion:
- Remove them from play.
- Seek medical care — only a health care provider can assess for a concussion.
- Inform and educate other parents.
- Ask for written instructions or approval from your child’s provider before allowing them to return to sports or athletic activity.
Knowing these concussion safety tips can help ensure that young athletes stay safe while enjoying the game. Make concussion awareness an important part of the sports season to create a foundation for safe play and a positive environment for parents, coaches and student athletes.