As the dog days of summer draw to a close, the start of fall sports is rapidly approaching.
In the past several years, there has been a heightened awareness of the risk of concussion syndrome while playing youth sports. I have to applaud the efforts of the coaches and pediatricians stressing the importance of protecting the head and preventing concussion syndrome injuries.
When you think of a concussion injury, most people automatically think of football players but concussions can be sustained playing most sports including but not limited to soccer, lacrosse, hockey and wrestling.
What is a concussion? In the most basic terms, a concussion is sustained when you have a "rattling" or "shaking" of the brain. A concussion can be mild or severe depending on the impact of trauma and symptoms can vary accordingly. A mild concussion can last for days to weeks with symptoms of headaches, dizziness, short term memory loss, and confusion. With a severe concussion, these symptoms can also be present in addition to a temporary change in brain chemistry, sensitivity to noise and light, loss of balance and personality changes.
Typically, most recover from a mild concussion with no lasting effects. However, with a severe concussion or repeate concussions, athletes can suffer from a post concussion syndrome.
Post Concussion Syndrome can be mild to severe and differs from patient to patient but it can include chronic migraine type headaches, lack of concentration, short term memory loss, sleeping problems, mood swings, depression, irritability and even personality changes.In addition to the head injury, most concussions occur in conjunction with a whiplash-type injury so it is important to address the muskuloskeletal structures of the neck and upper back as well.
Some patients with severe concussion syndrome endure months of physical therapy as well as psychiatric care in order to recover. The good news is that concussion are no longer taken lightly and coaches are educated to avoid such injuries at all cost.
In addition, more rigorous examinations are performed by health care professionals to recognize symptoms and injured athletes are required to take time off from their sport and are not permitted to return without a doctors permission. In addition, the helmets that our athletes are wearing today are made much better with greater technology to protects our children's brains.
The most important note to make about helmets is to make sure that they fit snug, so that the head is cradled and totally supported and there is no movement or gap between the head and the helmet.As the mother of four children who all play youth sports, and yes three of them play football the best medicine is to be as proactive as possible and do not take any head injury no matter how insignificant it may seem, do not take it lightly.
If your son or daughter complains of any symptoms seek medical attention right away.