Parent diligence can avoid children’s concussions

With the heightened concern regarding concussions and their long-term effects, a national concussion expert restated the neurological concerns about such a potentially dangerous brain injury. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that visits to emergency rooms have increased around 60 percent for children and teenagers since the recent focus by the NFL and the NHL regarding concussions.

The CDC believes that around four million sports and recreation concussions are now reported each year. However, the CDC also estimates that many more similar injuries go unrecognized and reported.

The chief of Neurosurgery at Emerson Hospital in Boston and the medical director for the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research has written a book, Concussions and Our Kids, which gives parent education on keeping their kids safe from concussive injuries. Miami children are just as susceptible to these injuries, as youth sports are a strong influence in the area.

This medical expert believes that children and teens are even more vulnerable than their adult peers to concussions because their nerve cells and connections lack the coating and insulation of older human brains. Additionally, their necks are not as strong as those of adults while children’s heads are proportionately heavier than their adult counterparts.

The doctor suggests that parents play a role in detecting some concussion symptoms that their coaches may miss. Parents know their kids better than anyone else. Should a child act a bit “off,” parents might ask if they got hit in practice or suffer a fall. Should the child answer “yes,” parents could avoid further injury by having the child checked out by a doctor.

Do you agree that parents should learn the many symptoms of a concussion and watch their children for any display thereof? Do you concur with many experts that believe parent vigilance could help avoid long-term serious effects of even minor concussions to young people?

Source: USA Today, “Parents’ vigilance can head off kids’ concussion risk,” Michelle HealyShare, Sept. 29, 2012