Concussion has become a hot topic in youth sports as parents react to the recent information about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in professional football. Although CTE isn’t a concern in youth sports, the damage that causes it is. CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head over time and spreads a protein that leads to the death of brain cells.
Since concussion injuries can’t be seen, often there is pressure from coaches or parents for an athlete to return to play after a hard hit. This is especially true if the athlete never loses consciousness. However, loss of consciousness is not a defining feature of concussion. Greater education and training among school and rec league coaches and trainers is needed to be able to identify and protect students following mild concussion injury.
What They Found
An 11-year study of boys’ and girls’ youth sports revealed which athletes were at the greatest risk of concussion. The study started in 1997 and followed 12 high school boys’ and girls’ sports in 25 different schools. The schools had certified athletic trainers on site during games and practices, and used an electronic record keeping system for head injuries.
In that time frame, researchers observed 2,651 concussions. More than half of these injuries occurred in football. Girls’ soccer had the next-highest rate of incidence. In sports where girls and boys play the same thing, such as soccer or basketball, girls experience twice the rate of concussion as boys. Over the course of the 11-year study, the risk went up 4.2 times. Researchers said the increase in risk could be due to an increase in awareness of head trauma.
Lowering the Risk
Coaches and leagues set the tone in youth sports. They can help reduce concussion injuries by talking about concussion, praising students when they self-report, enforcing rules against unsafe play, and having a concussion plan in place. Athletes suspected to have concussion injuries should be removed from play until cleared by a health provider. Coaches should share information about how and when the injury happened with the health care provider as well as inform parents. They should ask for written instructions from a health care provider about how to proceed after injury.
In order to provide the best concussion care, we need to see patients within 24 hours of an accident if possible. Elevate Health Clinics has locations in Dallas and Colleyville for your convenience, as well a trusted network of providers to help you get the care you need. From chiropractors, orthopedics, and pain management specialists, to finding an attorney to help bring your accident claim, we can help you get all your accident needs managed so that you can focus on what’s most important: your recovery. Make an appointment today by calling 855-435-3828, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.