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Risks Linked to Concussions in Children

It may come as a surprise to learn that concussions are becoming a more of a risk among student athletes, but these injuries are plentiful and instances of them are on the rise. To put the problem in perspective: of the 12 high schools in Philadelphia’s Central Athletic League, 223 concussions were reported among students from 2010 to 2011. And, nationwide, reports show that concussions in children doubled from 1997 to 2007.

As is the case for all victims of concussions, young athletes are put at risk for traumatic brain injuries if concussions are not properly treated. Such symptoms of serious concussions are:

  • Headaches

  • Mood swings

  • Memory loss

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • Spontaneous sleep

Last year, legislators acted in response to the growing risk of concussions among students. On July 1, a law signed by Governor Tom Corbett last November finally took effect. The law, called the Safety in Youth Sports Act, is designed to create more safeguards for students who receive concussions at school. Prior to the law’s enactment, there was poor oversight in the treatment of concussions at schools. Here are some of the stipulations of the new law:

  • Athletes who suffer concussions in-game must be removed

  • Injured athletes cannot return to sport until cleared by a physician

  • High school coaches must submit to annual training in concussions

  • Coaches who do not adhere to new rules will be penalized

  • Parents must sign a sheet informing them of brain injury facts

  • Students diagnosed with concussions must afforded a week or two off from school to rest

  • If concussion symptoms do not subside, students must receive homebound instruction

Some schools are going above and beyond the tenets of the new law. For example, Strath Haven High School has implemented a rule requiring female soccer players to wear helmets in-game. With the Center for Disease Control (CDC) claiming an average of 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries every year, the need for increased awareness on the issue is important, especially for our nation’s youth.

For more information on traumatic brain injuries, please see the other articles on the Carpey Law website, like this one on neurodegeneration.

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