The Danger of Sport Concussions from Pee Wee to NFL

As we are currently in the heart of football season, concussions and head injuries have been gaining lots of attention in the media. Philadelphia Eagles fans were stunned in October when DeSean Jackson was brutally hit and suffered a serious concussion with memory loss. It’s not only NFL stars, however, that sustain traumatic head injuries, its children all over the country who are playing football, other sports, or even just messing around in the back yard, can result in a concussion.  While a bump on the head might not seem like much, a concussion can be a dangerous and serious injury.

A concussion occurs after a head injury when the brain moves inside the skull and spinal fluid. When the brain hits the side of the skull, the result can be bruising of the brain, tearing of blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. A concussion is defined as the temporary loss or normal brain function. This is not an exact definition because the trauma and results from a concussion can vary dramatically.

Most concussions are minor and people can recover without any medical treatment. Despite this fact, it’s important to take certain precautions after a head injury. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, confusion, amnesia, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ear, nausea, slurred speech, or fatigue. If your child or someone is playing a sport and sustains a concussion, they should stop playing and do not resume activity. Typically, 7-10 days is needed to recover. Depending on the level of the head injury, medical attention can be necessary and crucial to recovery. If someone passes out due to a head injury or has ever suffered from a head injury in the past, no matter how small of an injury, seeing a doctor immediately is a must.

After a concussion, a person’s brain needs time to heal. This means taking it easy and no sports. The amount of time someone needs to recover depends on how long the symptoms last. Healthy teens can usually resume their normal activities within a few weeks, but each situation is different. A concussion can take up to a few months to heal. A doctor will be able to decide when it is okay to resume sports and other strenuous activities.

It is crucial that when a child is hurt playing a sport that they are not pushed or pressured into returning to the field too early. The NFL has faced scrutiny for its aggressive culture which has allowed many dangerous head shots. Parents and coaches need to educate their players and stress the importance of safety on and off the field.