Thursday, August 28, 2014

Youth Concussions

Consumers should beware of dietary supplements that claim to treat a concussion, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations said yesterday.

"Exploiting the public's rising concern about concussions, some companies are offering untested, unproven and possibly dangerous products that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions and other traumatic brain injuries," the agency said in a post on its website.
The beginning of the school year signals the beginning of fall sports season.  Are you worried about your young athlete receiving a concussion?

Youth concussion rates are on the rise.  Approximately 40% of emergency department visits for sports-related concussions in young athletes occurred in children aged 8-13 years, based on data from concussion-related hospital visits in the United States between 2001 and 2005.
Many parents, coaches, teachers and other adults feel that because these athletes are so young, they could not possibly get seriously hurt, but, of course, this is not the case. There are roughly half a million ER visits for concussions occurred among 8- to 19-year-olds and the number of elementary and middle school-aged athletes treated in hospital ERs (for concussions they got while playing on sports teams) has doubled in just a decade.

Why is the rate of concussions in younger children doubling?  Lisa L. Bakhos, MD, Brown University pediatric emergency medical specialist, said, “We don't really know why this is.  We know that kids are bigger now than they were in the past, which could be contributing to this trend. And, sports seem to be more competitive."
Is the answer to ban your child from sports until he/she is older and physically bigger?  In my opinion, the answer is no.  Sports are a great way to reinforce the importance of physical fitness in young kids while also teaching valuable lessons in sportsmanship, cooperation, listening skills and responsibility.  These lessons learned at a young age can help create a foundation of building blocks that kids can expand upon as they age.

Parents and coaches need to actively monitor and listen to their athletes though.  If a child is injured, ensure the child is taken out of the game and not allowed to play on the team until he/she has fully recovered.  One way to know that recovery has occurred is to ask the child.  But don’t solely take the child’s word for it.  Check with a reputable physician and have the child receive a medical physical. 
Over the past couple of years, the news has reported numerous children who have died on the field because they were playing in games after receiving concussions or playing after receiving multiple concussions within a short timeframe.  This is heartbreaking because these deaths could – and should - have been prevented by not allowing the child to participate in sports so soon. 

As adults, it is our responsibility to keep kids safe – and healthy – as they pursue their passion for sports and athletic endeavors this school year. 
Is your child ready to take his or her athletic training to the next level and train like a professional athlete?  Call Fitness for Health at 301-231-7138 to learn how we can help you become stronger, faster and more explosive. 

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