Written by: Marci D’Argenio, PT, DPT
Concussions caused by contact sports are a quickly growing epidemic among young athletes. The Center for Disease Control reports show that the amount of reported concussions has doubled in the last 10 years. Sports-related concussions account for more than half of all emergency room visits by children aged 8 through 13, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. High school football accounts for 47 percent of all reported sports concussions, with 33 percent of concussions occurring during practice. After football, ice hockey and soccer pose the most significant head health risk. A child who suffers a concussion is one and a half times more likely to experience another, and those who have had two concussions have a threefold greater risk of a concussion happening again.
- Make sure your child wears the appropriate equipment for your sport and wear it properly.Close the chin strap if their sport requires a helmet, even during practices.
- Enforce the importance of playing by the rules. Teach young athletes to respect the rules of their sport.
- Examine the playing field prior to and during games for uneven areas or holes.
- Make sure that end posts are adequately padded.
- Teach proper technique for their sport.Some organizations minimize risk of concussion by limiting the number of contact practices allowed during the season.
- Reiterate good sportsmanship.Teaching good sportsmanship minimizes unnecessary aggression on the field.