Bumps n’ Bruises is aware that contact sports including football, but any other activities that put a child or adolescent at risk of a violent movement or blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull can cause a concussion. It is estimated that 136,000 high school students experience concussions during each academic year. Many people believe that you have to lose consciousness to have a concussion, which is not true. Very few concussions actually have a loss of consciousness. A concussion is damage to the brain and it is important to allow that injury to completely heal before resuming play. Bumps n’ Bruises would like to remind parents and coaches that children and teens are at risk to be the most vulnerable to long-term cognitive, emotional and physical problems as a result of the brain injury caused by concussions.
Concussions used to be brushed aside as “not a big deal.” However, much more is known and further care and awareness is being brought to the attention of the medical as well as the sport community. Many states now require young athletes who have experienced a concussion to be cleared by a physician prior to restarting their sport.
Close observation of an injured athlete is critical to the prevention of catastrophic brain injury and potential cumulative neuropsychological deficits. Bumps n’ Bruises would like to remind parents and coaches that repeated concussions can cause cumulative brain injury in an individual injured over months or years. The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has just updated the recommendations for the practice guidelines for return to play after a Grade I, Grade II or Grade III concussion in November 2012. There is also free education on the AAN web page for physicians and coaches for concussion recognition and training (http://www.aan.com/go/practice/concussion).
Bumps n’ Bruises would like to encourage young athletes to continue perfecting their sport but also be aware of this common and very serious injury. It is important for parents, coaches and physicians to help these young athletes to compete safely.