It’s sports season and people of all ages are participating in contact sports that are fun, but also dangerous to the brain. Concussions are injuries to the brain after contact that can have an effect on memory, brain function, and in more extreme cases, lead to death. According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, between 50 and 80% of concussions in football go undiagnosed and untreated, mostly because symptoms and signs of concussions can happen after the event takes place.
If you’re a concerned parent, you might be wondering what you can do to protect your child in sports and in everyday life. You might be an athlete yourself and wondering the same thing for your own safety. Although there’s nothing that is concussion-proof, there are ways to lower you or your child’s chances of having one.
Concussion Baseline Screening
Here at the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, our physical therapists can do pre-concussion testing that determines the limits your child can reach and what their normal brain activity is, so that in the event of a possible concussion, they have recorded brain activity that can help solidify treatment.
In the same facilities as the concussion baseline screening, we can test and improve your child’s perception on the field and how quickly they see the action. It’s another way to help them prevent injury in the heat of the game.
Wear a Helmet
This one’s the most obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t wear protective gear during sports or recreational activities, like biking. Not only is wearing the helmet a good idea, but making sure the helmet is the right fit is important. A loose helmet that slides forward or back and doesn’t have a snug fit won’t give much in the way of benefit.
Establishing the Rules
Making sure that all athletes are aware of the importance of safety and preventative techniques. It’s important for everyone to be on the same page in regard to concussion safety and what to do if someone is showing signs of one. Adherence to rules against aggression can prevent a concussion and brain injury from ever taking place.
General fitness is a great way to prevent concussion. Strength training, especially in the neck muscles, can prevent future brain injuries.
Using proper techniques, such as tackling in football, can prevent concussions from taking place. An athlete should not be using their head as a point of contact, but rather other parts of the body like the shoulder.
Don’t let your kids play without proper equipment and training to better prevent future injury. Take preventative action by coming to see us at the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute. Let our family take care of yours!
Illustration by Parisha Patel