Youth sports programs have shown they have tremendous numbers of benefits for kids, including improving their people and teamwork skills, hand-eye coordination, and overall fitness levels in ways that they carry with them for the rest of their life. However, they also expose kids to a significantly increased risk of a traumatic brain injury, including concussions. Studies have shown that young, developing brains are particularly prone to concussion damage, with those who do suffer a concussion at a young age retaining a significantly increased chance of having a second one later.
To help you recognize what kind of risk your child might be in, here are the youth sports that have some of the highest concussion rates to help you recognize that your child’s injury might be more serious than you think.
Football players of all ages are highly prone to concussions. Even from the youngest days of strapping on pads for Pop Warner games, football players are taught to lead with their upper body when tackling opponents, and that often translates to the head being one of the first points to make contact. Head-to-head collisions are fairly common, and with the sheer amount of contact, it should come as no surprise that much of it happens to the head.
In tackle football, the head contact is at least shielded against. In soccer, players are often encouraged to use their open and unexposed head to make contact with a ball traveling at high speeds. This alone can cause damage, but then you consider that soccer is also a high-contact sport where other heads, elbows, knees, and even feet can all impact someone’s head, and you can see just how easily it is to get a concussion, even for young children playing on almost any level.
Unlike soccer, basketball does not usually involve making direct contact with the ball using your head. However, it does involve flying elbows, wayward knees, and even head-on-head collisions as one player tries to push their way through another. This is a particularly high risk for girls, who suffer from concussions while playing basketball at a rate that’s more than double that of boys.
Gymnastics isn’t a contact sport, and in fact never involves any sort of head-to-head competition involving two athletes from opposing teams on the same field of play at the same time. So when people hear that it has one of the fastest-growing concussion rates amongst youth athletes, parents are often shocked. The reason: whiplash. Gymnastics athletes fall, a lot, and that fall can cause serious impacts that can jerk their neck and head around, resulting in a concussion. There’s also the opportunity for a gymnast’s head to collide with a piece of equipment like the balance beam or exercise bar.
Of course, this is not meant to discourage kids from participating in these sports; in fact many healthcare and pediatric professionals emphatically agree that the health and social benefits kids get from participating in these sports overwhelmingly outweigh the risks involved. But, that being said your kid does participate in one of these sports and suffers a collision with their head, don’t simply brush it off as a “having their bell rung” or anything of the like; they could be seriously hurt and need medical attention as soon as possible.For more information about your rights if your child has suffered a concussion, speak with a Waterbury personal injury attorney today! Call Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos Sousa, P.C. today at (203) 583-8299 for a case evaluation.