The statistics are startling.
- According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it estimates that 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports and recreations concussions occur each year.
- The CDC also reports that the amount of reported Concussions has doubled in the last ten years.
- High school football accounts for an estimated 47 percent for all reported sports concussions, with 33 percent reported during practice. After football, ice hockey and soccer rank next in line for the highest risk.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that emergency room visits for Concussions in kids ages 8 to 13 years old has doubled, and Concussions have risen 200 percent among teens 14 to 19 in the last decade alone.
- One in five high school athletes will get a Concussion during the season.
We could list many more Concussion statistics, but first let’s step back and ask some questions:
What is a Concussion?
According to the CDC, a Concussion is a mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), resulting in a temporary condition or loss of functioning. Usually, most people will recover quickly from a Concussion, and it will not cause loss of consciousness.
What are some of the leading causes of a Concussion?
It’s not just about sports related injuries. A wide range of factors can cause a Concussion. According to the CDC, from 2006-2010, slips and falls were the leading cause of TBI, accounting for 40% of all TBIs in the United States that resulted in an emergency room visit, hospitalization or death. Other causes include traffic and travel accidents, such as automobile and motorcycle accidents; construction accidents; sports related accidents; and violence and/or sudden jarring movements.
What are the signs and symptoms of a Concussion?
Some of the signs and symptoms to look for to help recognize a Concussion usually fall into four categories:
- Thinking and Remembering: Difficulty concentrating or remembering new information.
- Physical: Headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, balance problems, feeling tired and nausea.
- Emotional and Mood: Become irritable easily, exhibit sadness or more emotional, nervous or anxious.
- Sleep: Sleep pattern changes, so sleeping more or less than usual.
What should your response be to a Concussion?
First and foremost, it is absolutely CRUCIAL that a Concussion be diagnosed quickly after an accident or injury to prevent further brain or head damage and to improve chances of a full recovery. Sometimes Concussions can be deceiving and not be evident for weeks or months after an accident or injury. However, even through Concussions are usually not life threatening, if left untreated, they can leave you with years of pain and suffering and increase your chances of additional harm to your brain AFTER even one Concussion if your head is injured again. After you’ve been diagnosed with a Concussion, rest is extremely important, giving time for the brain to heal. Not taking the proper steps to heal until the injury improves will only make symptoms worse.
What are some ways to prevent Concussions?
It’s really about common sense and being pro-active. Always wear a seatbelt while driving; never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs; wear a helmet and make sure your child wears a helmet when riding bikes, in specific sports or other recreational activities; make living areas safe for children and senior adults.
Indiana is making great strides in the right direction.
Starting in July 2017, all coaches in the state of Indiana MUST complete a course on Concussions for every public sport offered to students grades five through twelve. Recently signed into law by Gov. Mike Pence, the course teaches how to recognize signs of a Concussion, as well as the potential consequences. The federal CDC offers a FREE, 30-minute course that can help coaches in their first step toward helping athletes. In fact in 2014, Indiana became the first state to mandate high school football coaches to get Concussion training and require a 24-hour period before a player could return to a sport after a Concussion injury.
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