A friend who works in the school system (in Alpharetta/Johns Creek area) mentioned how concussions are a major concern in schools today. Especially in high school, kids complain of dizziness, inability to focus, memory loss and more from concussions usually caused by a sport injury. WebMD defines a concussion as a form of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow, fall, or other impact injury where the brain has been shaken inside the skull. The injury is not always obvious, and contrary to popular belief, not all people who suffer concussions lose consciousness. Common symptoms of a concussion include memory loss, double vision, inability to concentrate, vomiting, and dizziness. Other, lesser-known symptoms include changes in sleeping pattern, sadness, anxiety, loss of energy, and being easily upset.
In recent news, retired players have filed lawsuits against the National Football League for not fully disclosing the dangers of repeated concussions. Extensive brain injury studies are now showing that even mild injuries to the brain, when repeated, can cause brain degeneration. This is especially important for parents of children in contact sports to know.
Children and teens are at risk of suffering concussions because of higher activity levels: Playground antics, getting into fights, climbing jungle gyms, playing football or any activity where a child risks injury to the head, increases the likelihood of suffering a concussion. In younger children, concussions may be more difficult to spot. Their symptoms may present themselves similar to older children and adults, but can also manifest in other ways, such as excessive crying, changes in behavior, loss of interest in their favorite toys, and loss of balance.
Children’s National Medical Center explains that all concussions are serious and need prompt medical attention. In order for a concussion to heal, activity must be limited. Children or teens should not return to sporting activities until a concussion has fully healed to prevent more damage from occurring. Subsequent concussions occurring before the brain has healed increases the chances of long-term problems. Repeat concussions, according to the CDC, can result in swelling of the brain, permanent brain damage, and in some cases, death. There is no specified number of concussions one is allowed to have before being permanently pulled from sports: Each case is unique. In all instances, a parent should work closely with a physician in deciding whether a child should continue sports activities.
Football image from Google images: http://www.ajc.com/news/lifestyles/health/college-football-players-concussion-rates-double/nQXDh/ and interesting article on new NCAA regulations regarding concussions from 7/2012.