Being involved in youth sports provides countless benefits for children. It instills traits like work ethic and camaraderie that can carry them through into adulthood. And it can be plain old fun to run around with friends, not to mention the physical and emotional benefits kids experience as their skill and competence increase. But unfortunately, playing sports poses a growing risk to their health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 20% of high school athletes will sustain a sports concussion during the season. And these numbers are on the rise; in 2012 there were 3,800,000 concussions reported, nearly double the reported number in 2002. This growing epidemic in young athletes poses a great risk as undetected concussions can lead to long-term brain injury and can even prove to be fatal.
The CDC has led a community outreach campaign to educate and inform parents, students and coaches about the preventative measures that can greatly reduce the risk of concussions. Most recently, it released a free app that provides tools and information on prevention, recognition and response to concussions.
It is simple to use and filled with helpful information written in plain English so everyone can understand it. You can find out how to properly fit your child for a helmet for various sports and the do’s and don’ts of helmet wear and care. The app also has a succinct and informative section on brain injury basics, such as what is a concussion, what are the signs and symptoms, and what is the expected response and recovery.
Preventing concussions is easy but it requires parents, teachers, coaches and athletes to be educated and informed about how we can spot the symptoms and initiate fast and appropriate treatment. Download the CDC’s free app and help educate your family and friends.