Concussion Risks and Prevention
Have you suffered a concussion? Know the signs
In football, and more recently in other sports, the dangers of concussions have emerged. More than perhaps any other kind of injury, concussions create problems that, while often only temporary, create significant dangers for athletes who suffer from them. Understanding how to recognize and prevent a concussion is critical for athletes of any age or level of competition.
Recognizing Concussion Symptoms
A concussion, most simply defined, is a traumatic brain injury. It comes usually from a blow to the head, but can also come from violently shaking your head. A jarring blow that shakes the head can cause a concussion even if you do not hit your head.
Most people know that if you are knocked out or temporarily lose consciousness, a concussion may be the result. But other symptoms may seem less obvious and still suggest a potential concussion:
- temporary confusion
- ringing in the ears
- headache or pressure in the head
If you experience any of these symptoms after a blow to the head, you need to be evaluated by a physician. The blow does not need to be a violent or severe one; depending on the angle, force, or position on your head, you can suffer a concussion.
While no one can perfectly avoid concussions, you can take steps to prevent them. In youth sports, understanding the proper techniques of the sport is critical. Many concussions come as a result of either striking with the head, as with someone leading with the helmet on a tackle, or tucking the head and exposing it to danger. The proper protective equipment helps, but cannot prevent every head injury. Education and proper care for yourself and those around you provide the best way to avoid suffering a concussion.
Contact sports always present risks of injury, including concussions. But teaching on the right techniques and an awareness of the risks presented can go a long way toward minimizing those risks and create a safer experience for kids who love sports.