Head Injury Awareness in Sports
Due to an athlete’s competitive spirit, fine-tuned training, and endless pressure to perform, a rise of head injuries in professional sports have been getting a lot of recent media attention. However, it is often under recognized that the same ingredients for head injuries are also present in high school sports, but with a heightened potential for devastating developmental consequences. Despite improved safety procedures and equipment, head injuries should always be a concern of parents, coaches, and fans. As a result, it is very important to have an understanding of the symptoms that accompany head injuries and the proper steps that should be taken should they appear on the sidelines.
One of our district’s most popular fall sports, football, involves both tremendous agility and finesse but also a combination of brute-force strength and endurance. With the attributes of the sport, contact is inevitable and often encouraged. As a result, brain injuries such as concussions are a very real concern.
Recognition of concussions is important because early diagnosis can prevent further injury, loss of consciousness, and even death. Though concussions are very serious for all ages, the odds that a child or teen will get one are much higher than in an adult. Since children and teens are more susceptible to concussions, it is important to be cautious of the following symptoms:
- Concentration or memory problems
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Balance problems
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Feeling groggy, foggy, and sluggish
- Trouble falling asleep
If an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, the following steps should be taken:
- Remove the athlete from play. When in doubt, keep the athlete out of play.
- Ensure the athlete is evaluated by a licensed health care professional that is experienced in the recognition, treatment, and management of concussions.
- Inform the athlete’s parents or guardians about the possible concussion.
- Keep the athlete out of play until they are evaluated and symptom-free.
Seek medical attention if the athlete:
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignments
- Forgets plays
- Answers questions slowly
- Cannot recall events prior to the hit