Safety Alert: Kids, Sports, and Head Injuries
For kids who play sports, bumps and bruises go with the terrain. And even though parents worry about all injuries, they may miss one of the most serious: a concussion, or trauma to the brain. Doctors estimate that more than half of the 300,000 sports-related concussions incurred annually are overlooked, in part because they aren't always caused by a direct blow. Concussions can also result from whiplash or violent shaking. In addition, the symptoms -- dizziness, nausea, headache, amnesia, or loss of consciousness -- can be hard to recognize, says Mark Lovell, PhD, director of the Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The real danger is repeated head injuries, which "lower the threshold" so that less severe hits result in concussion, says Dr. Lovell. If you suspect your child has suffered a concussion, don't allow him back on the field -- whether it's for a game or practice -- until he sees a doctor.