Concussions: “When in doubt, sit them out.”
An estimated 300,000 sports-related traumatic brain injuries occur in the United States each year. 63,000 of these injuries occur at the high school level. Football causes 63% of these injuries, and girls’ soccer is the second leading cause. Most of these types of head injuries recover within a week, but some can take a month or longer to recover. However, unfortunately, there are still approximately 900 deaths a year from sports-related traumatic brain injuries (concussions).
So, what can be done to decrease these numbers? Makes sure athletes, coaches, and parents know the signs and symptoms of concussion. Athletes should be encouraged to speak with someone (teammate, parents, coaches or healthcare professional, etc.) if they “don’t feel right” after a hard hit to the head. If at all possible, make sure your school has a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) present at games and practices. ATCs are trained to recognize, evaluate, and treat athletes who show signs and symptoms of concussions. They work closely with the team physician to get athletes the care they need quickly and to keep them safe. They will also work with the treating and/or team physician, coaches, parents and athlete to transition them back into the game once their symptoms have resolved and have been cleared by the physician. If your school does not have an ATC, make sure the coaches follow the general guideline, “When in doubt, sit them out.”
March is Alabama Brain Injury Awareness Month and National Athletic Training Month.
For more head injury information, please go to nata.org or alabamabraininjuryawareness.org
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