By Dr. Daniel Rancier MD

The issue of concussions to athletes at all levels is a growing concern. With some recent studies showing that head trauma effects are worse in youth athletes than with adults. The issue is an even bigger because of the nature of contact sports. It is unlikely that concussions and related symptoms can be eliminated unless significant rule changes take place. That is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Is it possible to reduce the risks of concussions? Yes, but it requires an awareness on the part of those running athletic programs as well as involved parents and administrators.

Recently, the California School Boards Association published a fact sheet titled – “Concussions in Student Athletes and How to Reduce Risk.”. The fact sheet discusses information and facts regarding the effect of concussions in youth athletes and also recommends some important things that should be looked at to help reduce concussion risks.

Here are a few of the highlights covered in the fact sheet;

  • The overall effects of blows to the head can add up, especially if the athlete suffered an injury with not enough time to recover before receiving another one. Even a minor type of hit before full recovery could have the potential for a greater injury to the head.
  • They cite the fact that there is new research showing that younger kids have more risk for lasting effects from a concussion. A recent study from the journal Neurology found that even retired professional football players can have a higher risk for long-term health issues from brain trauma if they began playing football before the age of 12.
  • The California Interscholastic Federation recommended a multifaceted approach to the problem. Suggestions include concussion awareness education as well as athletic equipment and techniques when playing.
  • The article poses important questions as well.
    • Is there a policy on health and safety?
    • Is there a trained athletic trainer available?
    • How old is the athletic equipment being used?
  • Those are just a few of the questions asked regarding finding a way to help reduce the risk for young student-athletes.

Although contact happens among player-to-player, player-to-ground, and even player-to-ball, it’s important that the affected athlete is looked at carefully for possible symptoms and removed from further participation until cleared. Further knowledge and understanding of the early symptoms of a concussion can also help reduce the risk of a player sustaining another possibly more severe event.

For the full article, follow the link provided below;

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