Top 5 Youth Activities That Result in Traumatic Head Injuries by David Dwork, JD

Injuries and sports

Smiling Little LeaguerThough motor vehicle accidents account for more than half of all head injuries, sporting accidents serve as another major source of injury.

As the graphic below indicates, young boys aged 1-4 sustained more than 6,000 head injuries in the period 2001-2009, mostly from accidents occurring in playgrounds. This figure more than quadruples to over 27,000 injuries for boys aged 15-19, with football serving as the primary cause of injury.

Girls suffer far less, experiencing nearly 3,000 head injuries for ages 15-19 during the same time period, primarily due to accidents while playing soccer.

You don’t have to hit your head to be injured

Brain injury is an injury to the brain that generally results from an external trauma, such as a blow to the head, but may also occur without any physical contact to the head, as in a sudden acceleration/deceleration injury caused by a car crash.

A person does not need to be knocked out to sustain a head injury.  However, there may still be injury to the brain, which can cause deficits in a person’s functioning.

Trauma or forces exerted on the brain cause damage which often might be at the microscopic level, which as a result can impact speech, cognition, behavior, personality, emotions, and perceptions.

While each person is different and the symptoms associated with a brain injury may differ, generally, one finds a change or loss of consciousness, dizziness, headaches, memory impairments, visual disturbances, speech disorders, disorientation and balance difficulties.

Help children play safe

To avoid concussions in sports, youngsters should remain safe and avoid rough play.  In soccer, limiting heading can prevent repetitive forces to the brain.  It is important to understand that no equipment – not even a football or lacrosse helmet – can prevent concussions.  If a player has been or is suspected to have been concussed, he or she should be removed from play and evaluated immediately by a trained medical professional.

For further concussion prevention advice and information, please contact David Dwork at 617-620-0857

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