With all the benefits of youth sports – fresh air, camaraderie, discipline, accomplishment – it’s no wonder parents encourage their youngsters to participate. But with that encouragement comes the responsibility of helping children to participate safely – including preventing and treating traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as concussions.
Research shows that child athletes recover from concussions more slowly than adults. Youngsters who return to play too soon can risk serious, permanent brain injury – and a second injury, even if it’s not as severe, can cause much more significant damage.
The good news is that more awareness means that more children are reporting, and being treated for, brain injuries. Each year, emergency rooms treat nearly 175,000 children and teens for sports-related TBIs. Your child should be evaluated by a medical professional if he or she exhibits any of these symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Seizures or convulsions
- A headache that’s severe, doesn’t go away or gets worse
- Unequal pupils or other visual changes
- Altered behavior, trouble concentrating or confusion
- Sleeping more or less than normal
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination, weakness or numbness in any body part
- Mood changes
- Vomiting or stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Ringing in ears
So yes, encourage your children to enjoy sports, bike riding, and other activities. Just make sure they also wear approved and well-fitting helmets and other safety gear, observe all team and league rules – and that they and their coaches report head injuries to you right away.
If you have questions about a personal injury claim, contact an experienced attorney.