Let’s Not Forget about Concussion in Children and Young Athletes

Posted by Marilyn Lash, M.S.W. on 23rd Dec 2010

Recently it seems that whenever I turn on the TV, read the paper, or search the web, I come across reports on concussion in sports. That’s the good news – for too long concussions were minimized and brushed off as “minor” injuries.

For those of us who are willing or captive audiences to the ritual of Sunday afternoon football – and Monday night, and on and on…. There has been a noticeable change just in the last month in how concussions are discussed by air sports announcers. A Dec. 13, 2010 article titled “NFL Sees Spike in Reported Concussions” says that the number of concussions being reported this season is up more than 20% from 2009, and more than 30% from 2008. This is a big change and indication that both players and teams are taking concussions more seriously. The full article is worth reading.

But with all the recent attention on professional football players, it’s easy to overlook the effects that concussions can have on children and younger athletes. The child’s brain is very different than an adult athlete. Very little is really known about the long term effects of concussions on the child’s developing brain. There is a fascinating article by Gretchen Reynolds that looks at how concussions in children influence their later life.

The consequences of concussion in children can go far beyond the playing field to life at home and work in the classroom. Ron Savage has designed an 8 week Post Concussion Checklist for parents, nurses, coaches and educators to monitor physical, cognitive, social and behavioral changes. Remember a concussion is a mild brain injury. If you’d like a free tip card on Concussion in Children, just fill out the request form and select the title on Lash and Associates website.