As your child takes to the soccer or football field this Fall season, you are likely full of pride for your athlete. But with so many risks associated with sports, you may also feel worried. For many parents, this worry comes from the risk of childhood concussions.
According to Brainline, about 140,000 high school athletes sustain concussions every year. By understanding the basics of these sports injuries, you can be prepared if your child is injured.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of brain injury generally caused by a blow to the head or a head jolt. This injury disrupts normal brain function, which lasts between several days and several months. Most concussions do not cause unconsciousness, but some can.
What sport causes the most concussions?
A recent study of concussions found that female soccer players sustain the most concussions, topping football in 2015. About 25 million children play soccer around the world, and most do not wear protective gear. Researchers cited this lack of protection, an emphasis on contact, and heading the ball as possible causes of these high concussion rates.
What other sports pose a risk?
Other risky sports include football, lacrosse, cycling, swimming, hockey, basketball, and wrestling. Remember that your child does not have to be playing a sport to sustain a concussion. They can happen with any blow to the head, which can result from playing on a playground or doing any other physical activity.
What are the symptoms of concussions?
When your child sustains a concussion, it can manifest in several ways. Once of the most common symptoms is dizziness, which is the second most common complaint heard at doctor’s offices and affects about 70% of the population at some point during their lives. Headaches, difficulty balancing, nausea, confusion, and disorientation also occur often. Other common symptoms include:
You can find a full list of symptoms on Brainline’s concussion resources page.
What should I do if I think my child has a concussion?
The first and most important step that you should take after your child is hit in the head, or is showing concussion symptoms at all, is to take them to a doctor. Self diagnosis and treatment can be dangerous, so getting your child to the hospital, an urgent care clinic, or the emergency room is essential. Once a professional diagnoses your child, they will give you specific care instructions and information about follow-up care. Be sure to follow these instructions closely, even if it means your child needs to stay home from school for a period of time.
How can I prevent my child from getting a concussion?
While concussions are often caused by accidents or other unpreventable factors, there are some steps you can take to lower your child’s risk:
While concussions can be frightening, remember that they are often easily treated and do go away with rest and time. The key is to stay aware and prepared to handle concussion risk without interfering with your child’s love of the sport. Safety starts with awareness, so be sure to talk to your child’s doctor and coach about brain injury prevention.