More than 38 million boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 18 participate in organized youth sports. And while sports can be a fun way to socialize and instill values such as teamwork, physical activity can also mean potential for injuries.
Coaches, parents and athletes need to be on the lookout for injuries, especially more serious types of injuries such as concussions.
Recognizing such injuries and being proactive are key because approximately 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year. So, what may seem to be a mild bump or blow to the head can often be far more serious.
Contact between athletes, collisions between athletes and objects such as goalposts or hurdles or simple falls can all result in concussions, which cause the brain to move rapidly inside the skull.
Should a concussion occur on the playing field, there are many signs and symptoms that coaches and parents need to know. For example, athletes who experience any kind of change in behavior, thinking or physical functioning may be in need of care.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even a "ding," "getting your bell rung," or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. You can't see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.
What to look for
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment or position
- Forgets an instruction
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows behavior or personality changes
- Can't recall events prior to hit or fall
- Can't recall events after hit or fall
How you can help your child prevent a concussion
For more information on concussions and traumatic brain injuries visit www.cdc.gov/injury.
- Ensure that they follow their coach's rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
- Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
- Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity (such as helmets, padding, shin guards, and eye and mouth guards). Protective equipment should fit properly, be well maintained, and be worn consistently and correctly. Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion.