Kids, Sports and Concussions—It’s not just about football
It’s a common perception that most high school sports-related concussions
happen on the football field. But, if you look more closely, you’ll
find your child may be at risk for concussion while playing a number of
other sports, according to a 2012 study by the American Journal of Sports
Medicine (AJSM). Also, that about one-third of all concussions occur in
practices, not during competition.
True, of the 1,936 sports-related concussions reported in the study of
20 different sports played at American high schools between 2008 and 2010,
nearly half, or 47.1 percent, were suffered by football players. Another
159—or 8.2 percent—happened in girls soccer, while 5.2 percent
occurred in boys wrestling, and 5.5 percent happened in girls basketball.
“It’s important to note that concussions represented more than
13 percent of all high school sports-related injuries reported during
the two-year period,” said Michael Goldin, MD, physical medicine
and rehabilitation specialist with Washington Township Medical Foundation.
“Parents should be aware that there are concussion risks associated
with a number of other sports involving both boys and girls, and that
concussions can happen to younger children as well.”
If you’d like to learn more about concussions, their signs, symptoms
and proper treatment, come to a free community seminar on Tuesday, September
29 at 6 p.m. Dr. Goldin and orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist
Russell Nord, MD, will lead the forum entitled “Get a Heads Up on
Concussions.” Dr. Nord is medical director of the Washington Sports
The seminar will be held in the Conrad E. Anderson, MD, Auditorium in the
Washington West building next to Washington Hospital, 2500 Mowry Avenue
in Fremont. For more information or to reserve your spot, go online to
www.whhs.com and click on events, or call (800) 963-7070.
Know the signs and symptoms
“There are several symptoms related to concussions, the most common
being headache, dizziness and problems with concentration,” explained
Dr. Goldin. “At the seminar, we will talk in more detail about what
parents should watch for if they suspect their son or daughter may have
sustained a concussion.”
In the AJSM study, high school athletes who had sustained a concussion
reported having a headache in more than 94 percent of cases. More than
75 percent reported feeling dizzy, and nearly 55 percent had difficulty
concentrating. Other common symptoms were confusion (45 percent), light
sensitivity (36 percent), and nausea (31 percent).
What’s the problem?
A major concern of coaches, parents, doctors and other experts is the
effect of a concussion—and repeated concussions—on the neurological
system and mental processing functions of young athletes.
“Studies have found that eye function and information processing
were impaired in athletes with two or more concussions, compared children
who had had one or no concussions,” stated Dr. Goldin. “We’ll
discuss these findings further at the upcoming seminar.”
The doctors will also talk about concussion treatment options and strategies
for allowing a child to begin playing again after a concussion.
Returning to the sport
Currently, one approach to getting young athletes back in the sport is
to have them go through a step-by-step protocol. They play to a pre-defined
level of exertion and are only allowed to go to the next level when they
don’t experience symptoms.
According to Dr. Goldin some studies have suggested that higher levels
of physical exertion may have a negative effect on a child’s ability
to mentally process the following: verbal memory, visual memory and reaction time.
“Concussions are an important topic for us to address,” said
Dr. Goldin. “Many people know about the symptoms of concussion.
They should also understand that, if the symptoms are not managed appropriately,
a child’s ability to think could be impaired.
“Managing a child’s concussion takes a team approach involving
the student, parents, teachers, athletic trainer, if available, coaches
and a physician,” he concluded.
To learn more about Washington Sports Medicine program, go online to www.whhs.com
and select Services. For more information about Washington Township Medical
Foundation, visit www.mywtmf.com.