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Questions That Prevent Concussions

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Questions That Questions That Prevent Concussions

Questions That1 Questions That Prevent Concussions

  1. Concussions are under reported, especially among youth athletes.
  2. Every concussion is serious and should be treated by a qualified medical professional.
  3. Return to sport/activity after a concussion typically takes some time and rehabilitation. Treating an injury to the brain can help reduce lasting damage to memory, coordination and cognitive ability.
  4. Be proactive in understanding what type of coaching your child is getting in their sport to help reduce concussion risk. Share information with coaches and team member to keep players safe.


With kids going back to school, temperatures here in Happy Valley are cooling off, and with any luck wildfire season ending it’s time to start considering how we will prepare for the fall. This means back to school shopping, new car pools, bus routs, and of course fall sports. An appreciation for lifelong activity is one of the most valuable things we can instill in our kids. However, the issue regarding kids and sports is concussions is starting to get more attention, and for good reason. Nearly 3/4 of all people treated for concussions are under the age of 19, likely because their neck is not as able to support their heads as effectively as adults and because they more regularly engage in contact sports (football, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey to name a few).

To understand why concussion prevention is so important we need to talk about what a concussion is. Concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). They can cause irreversible damage to the brain and should be treated as seriously as any brain injury. The NFL has been engaged in head trauma research to understand the long term risks of repeated head injuries.Our understanding of how to best manage them continues to grow. The CDC website has a vast library of information for parents, kids, providers and coaches. The Hockey Canada program has actually been one of the more proactive sports leagues with regulations to protect youth players and also has a wide range of information online. Sophisticated tests, like ImPACT are also available that can help determine the severity of an injury and when it is safe to return to school, sport and activity. One of my favorite parental resources I have found is a book called Concussions and Our Kids by Mark Hyman, M.D.. It is written in a very approachable manor and gives many suggestions for parents and players to minimize risk and manage an injury should it happen.

Questions That2 Questions That Prevent Concussions

What does this mean for you and your kids? Stay active, but take reasonable risks by ensuring that sports or played in the safest way possible. Take preventative steps to help reduce the risk and severity of impacts to the head. Stay current with the research and help educate other parents, players, coaches, and school administrators so that everyone has the same goals of safety while developing the skills needed for high level play. If you suspect that you or your child has a concussion, seek medical attention immediately. Take appropriate time for return to play and school as recommended by a primary care provider familiar with treatment of concussions, not only for diagnosis but also for management and rehabilitation.

When it comes to equipment and coaching staff, make sure they are both focused on safety. If a helmet doesn’t fit properly it does not protect the brain. If your child’s football coach does not teach” Heads Up Football” (the NFL is supporting this movement) then you may decide that the risk is to great. Especially in football, wearing a helmet does not mean that using your head as a weapon on the field is ever acceptable, in fact to teach that some teams drill without helmets. If your child can’t safely or effectively perform the techniques of heads up football, talk to your coach, athletic trainer or even a physical therapist so that they can be safe on the filed. Has your soccer league discussed how they will handle training for and using headers in practice and in games? Can neck strengthening and technique development replace high volume drills of heading soccer balls to reduce concussions in youth and adult athletes? Does the coach or athletic trainer have a plan and the skills necessary to assess a player for a concussion? Have you asked these questions to the right people? If you are or if you have a child playing a contact sport we encourage you to become familiar with the signs of concussion, the research behind prevention, and know the risks of the activities you are engaging in. Play hard, stay safe, enjoy a lifetime of activity and remember physical therapy can help make that happen.

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