A Warning for All Seasons: Young Athletes and Concussions

A Warning for All Seasons: Young Athletes and Concussions

According to the U.S. Safety Council, a child is treated for a sports-related concussion – or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) – every three minutes. But this isn’t restricted to the obvious — young football-playing boys. In sports where girls and boys participate, the girls suffer a higher percentage of concussions; so says a 2013 Game Changers report by Safe Kids Worldwide.

Safe Kids analyzed sports-related emergency room admissions data for children ages 6 to 19 over a two-year period (2011-2012) in 14 sports, including basketball, cheerleading, football and soccer. Their findings came as a real eye-opener to the parents of youth sports participants.

  • 12 percent of all youth athlete emergency room visits were for a concussion.
  • 5 percent of female and 7.2 percent of male basketball players were diagnosed with concussions.
  • 1 percent of female and 12.4% of male soccer players suffered concussions.

The reason why girls appear to be at higher risk of concussion remains unknown.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year between 1.6 and 3.8 million athletes suffer a concussion. In many cases, these traumatic injuries are not reported or are undiagnosed. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics illustrates the number of sports-related concussions is highest among high school athletes. But the numbers are on the rise across all categories of young athletes.

Most concussions occur during games, not practices. And only a few cause the victim to lose consciousness. The Brain Injury Research Institute helps us understand sports concussions that occur to all athlete age groups:

  • One in ten contact-sport athletes (football, basketball, baseball, soccer) sustain concussions.
  • A football brain-related injury occurs once every 5.5 games.
  • Five percent of soccer players sustain brain injuries.
  • The head is involved in more baseball injuries than any other body part – almost half of baseball injuries are head injuries.
  • After suffering their first concussion, an athlete is four to six times more likely to sustain a second one.

But the suspicions that football is the paramount cause of concussions/MTBI which lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease better known as CTE, are now virtually universal. The facts are hard to ignore. Recent research has found an association between those who participated in youth tackle football before age 12 and their impaired mood and behavior later in life, according to conclusions released in September 2017. The results from this long-term study conducted by researchers at Boston University’s School of Medicine (BUSM), are certainly adding to the growing debate among parents as to when they will allow their kids to play tackle football, if ever.

In some communities like Chicago and Detroit, in the past several years, the number of youth (under 12) football teams has shrunk by as much as 50 percent, especially in the affluent suburbs.

Warning Signs that your Young Athlete May Have Suffered a Concussion

If your child suffers a head injury, do not assume he just had his bell rung, or she was just dinged. Concussions are very serious and always require medical attention. Signs and symptoms of concussion include:

  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Glassy eyes
  • Disorientation
  • Clumsiness or poor balance
  • Slowed speech
  • Changes in mood, behavior or personality

If you or your loved one has suffered a head injury and you would like to explore your legal options, contact Kaplan Lawyers PC by filling out our online form or calling us at any of our office locations:

(212) 563-1900 (NYC)
(516) 399-2364 (Nassau County)
(347) 758-9011 (Brooklyn)
(631) 619-5309 (Suffolk County)
(917) 382-9212 (Queens)