Last week my four year old started playing flag football. Even as a preschooler he is in love with the sport. He is learning the skills and looking forward to getting older so that he can learn to tackle. As a mother, this is both entertaining and extremely frightening. I want him to be active and to be involved in sports, but I don’t want him to get hurt…ever! A helmet is a must but I am also learning about prevention.
Most of us have read about concussions and traumatic brain injuries resulting from sport injuries. Even though the awareness is greater, many concussions go untreated. Helmet, pads and other protective gear can reduce the risks, but prevention is the only cure. Athletic organizations and trainers should have policies in place and should consider safety above all. Youth and young adults have a far greater risk of TBI-related injury or death than older players. The developing brain appears to be more vulnerable to brain injury.
After a concussion, players complain of headache, dizziness and balance difficulties, and feeling slowed down. Most of the time, players minimize their symptoms in order to return to play faster. Those players who have had prior concussions take longer to recover. Athletic organizations should establish a reasonable standard of care on return to play. Confirm that your coaches and volunteers have been trained to spot concussions and TBIs. Make sure that a health care professional clears your child or young adult if symptoms appear.