Sports-Related Concussions on the Rise in Children's Sports Activities

Over the past few years, according to a federal study, the rate of children's sports-related concussions rose by 60 percent. As younger and younger children strive to join elite travel teams and competitive leagues, emergency rooms are seeing more and more brain injuries in children. In fact, 40 percent of pediatric concussion-related emergency room patients are between the ages of eight and 13.

Historically, when a child had a collision, commonly during a football or soccer game, the coach or trainer had to rely on how the player said he or she felt before putting the player back into the game. Players often under-reported their symptoms or ignored how they felt in order to rejoin their friends on the field.

The good news is that as health care professionals become more aware of the long-term damage caused by brain injuries, coaches and parents are becoming more vigilant about having child athletes see a medical provider after a hit or fall, no matter how mild.

A new California law requires that schools offering extramural sports establish a process for dealing with athletes suspected of sustaining concussions or brain injuries. Part of the process requires that the injured student be immediately removed from the activity and be forbidden from participating until released to do so by a licensed health care provider.

Although the number of emergency room visits may be due to increased cautiousness on the part of parents and coaches, the rate of diagnosed concussions is staggering. Despite all of the measures schools are taking, you have to wonder how many children sustain undiagnosed brain injuries.

Possible Concussion Symptoms

  • Slow movements or speech
  • Intense headache or pressure
  • Nausea, dizziness or vomiting
  • Confusion or mood changes
  • Vision problems or light sensitivity
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Excessive sleepiness or inability to sleep

If you suspect your child may have a concussion or is suffering from a severe injury, it is important that he or she receive the best care possible. Consult with an experienced attorney who is attuned to the special needs and emotions surrounding child injuries.