While I usually write about fertility related issues, I am lucky enough to have two children of my own, and every once in a while, I feel compelled to write about something that relates to a time further down the path of parenting.
My boys are 11 and 8, and they each play two organized sports each season. When they aren’t at a practice or game, they are skateboarding, climbing trees, or wrestling with each other like two lion cubs. One of the sports they play is lacrosse, and while it isn’t as rough as tackle football, helmets and pads are required because it is a contact sport. I also coach their lacrosse teams, and so I am always interested in what’s in sports news.
As I’m sure you already know, if you have a child playing an organized sport these days (or watch NFL football news), concussions have become a hot topic. Finally, after years of lawsuits and months of mediation, the NFL has finally agreed to a $765 million dollar settlement with NFL players who sustained (or will sustain) brain injuries while playing in the NFL. The findings from the research on deceased NFL players and other athletes who sustained brain injuries is having an effect not only on the NFL, but on all sports, down to the youth level.
According to the Rolling Stone
article “This Is Your Brain On Football,” close to 4 million Americans sustain concussions in a sports activities, or even on playgrounds. Most of these millions are kids, and the injuries aren’t necessarily recognized.
"The large majority of concussions don't render kids unconscious, so neither they nor their coaches know they've happened," says Dr. Robert Cantu, chair of neurosurgery at Emerson Hospital, the co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) and the nation's leading authority on concussions. "Boys in particular don't tell us when something's the matter. “
The most dangerous issue with concussions, especially for kids, is returning to sports (or even school), too soon. And if a kid with a previous concussion returns to normal activities before the brain is completely healed, and sustains a second injury, (not even necessarily another concussion), the results can be fatal. The condition is called second-impact syndrome and only affects kids, or people under the age of 25.
In my next post, I will talk more about second impact syndrome, and a test that could greatly help reduce the number of kids returning to sports before their brains are completely healed.
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