As the beginning of another school year is starting for children and teens across the country, the 30 – 45 million children and adolescents who participate in non-scholastic organized sports are likely beginning to practice and play. As such, how the safety of young athletes is being protected is drawing a great deal of attention as sports-related concussions and the potential dangers of this injury are a hot topic in the news. As reported by The Huffington Post, concussions in children and adolescents over the age of 10 are more likely to occur in organized sports than in any other activity, and are also at a greater risk of suffering a concussion than collegiate or professional athletes.
Various theories exist as to why this risk is so great, such as the fact that a young person’s brain is still developing, but regardless, youth sports is fortunately a situation where parents, coaches, and schools can intervene to prevent an injury. The following are helpful tips to educate yourself and others and raise awareness of the dangers and signs of a concussion to prevent a dangerous traumatic brain injury:
- Read informative materials to help protect your child, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Heads Up program and the “Concussion Guidelines” offered by the American Academy of Neurology Website.
- Increase awareness and educate others. Find sponsors if possible to create t-shirts, banners, and uniforms to spread the word, or ask a local hospital to sponsor a “Concussion Awareness” program. Or, using the above materials, print the information out and distribute it to other parents and coaches.
- No athlete should return to play the same day they suffer any symptoms of a concussion as children and adolescents will take longer to recover than adults, so resist the urge to let your athlete play early. Parents should follow the “Return to Play Criteria” section in the “Concussion Guidelines.”
The safety of young athletes is extremely important, and as a brain injury can impact a person for the rest of his or her life, being aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion can help prevent injury. However, another party’s negligence may still cause a serious child injury. Louisville child injury attorney Tad Thomas has extensive experience helping families whose child has suffered a serious injury and obtaining the compensation needed for a child or teen to heal and recover.