Playing a sport, whether contact or not, puts your children at increased risk for injury. This includes many of the activities
and sports kids and teens participate in during or after school. With any injury, especially head injuries, it’s important to know the difference between fact and fiction.
Elizabeth Pieroth, PsyD, ABPP, the Associate Director of NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Sports Concussion Program, helps parents
distinguish the facts from the fictions when it comes to concussion:
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@DrEPieroth will answer all your questions on concussion and youth sports, from diagnosis to treatment and prevention. Tweet your questions using #nschats.
Concussive injuries in sports have been a hot topic for a number of years. As of July 2011, a new Illinois
State law requires that any athlete who exhibits the signs of a concussion must be removed from that practice or game, and cannot be returned to play until he or she has been cleared by an appropriately trained healthcare professional.
However, the law makes no mention of academics and most youth athletes will attend school before they are cleared to return to the field of play. Our attention should then turn to addressing the issues of injured students.
A concussion occurs when a person suffers a blow or force to the head that results in changes in his or her mental status; this includes confusion, disorientation, memory or mental cloudiness. The individual may complain of headache, dizziness, nausea, visual
changes or fatigue, and may experience problems with attention and memory.
It is often difficult for a newly concussed student to manage the demands of school and their grades may suffer if their injury is not appropriately addressed. If a student athlete suffers from a concussion the following steps for an optimal recovery are recommended:
Your son knocks helmets with a teammate on the ice. Your daughter heads the ball during a soccer match. Your linebacker
goes down after a rough tackle. By nature of the game, participating in sports puts your children at greater risk of concussion and head injury.
Proper prevention and education can help keep your family safe.
Julian Bailes, MD, Former NFL and NCAA Team Physician, Current Medical Director for
Pop Warner Football and Co-Director of the
NorthShore Neurological Institute says it’s important for parents to know the symptoms of concussion to watch for, which include:
It is important to recognize that symptoms of a concussion may not be immediate. For this reason it is very important that parents, coaches, trainers and teammates are mindful of injuries and pull athletes from a game anytime injury is suspected. Any signs
or symptoms of concussion should be taken seriously and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Get immediate treatment and be smart about when you send your athlete back in the game after they heal.
What safety measures to you put in place to reduce injury? What other questions do you have about concussions and other sports injuries?