Over the past decade, concussions have come to forefront of the conversation about contact sports like football, hockey, and more. As new evidence about the long-term negative effects of repeated head injuries has come to light, sports organizations around the world have worked tirelessly to make sports safer for athletes without detracting from the excitement. At NAC Sports Training Center, we believe that it is possible to strike a balance between safety and the thrill of competition, and that keeping our athletes safe is paramount, especially for the youth athletes we train every day. Here’s some information about preventing concussions in youth athletes.
Concussion Safety for Youth Athletes
Kids play sports for lots of reasons; to get exercise, to compete at the highest levels, or just because they enjoy it. Of course, a head injury or concussion can detract greatly from that enjoyment. Beyond that, repeated head injuries have been shown to cause lasting traumatic brain injuries, the symptoms of which can manifest later in life without warning. If you have a child who plays sports, it’s a good idea to encourage them in developing safe habits. So what can young athletes do to protect themselves from concussions?
Wear Proper Safety Gear
In most full-contact sports like football, hockey, and lacrosse, wearing helmets and other safety gear is a requirement. In some other sports like basketball, field hockey, and soccer, players can choose to wear face guards if they wish, although they are not required. Because the majority of sports injuries are caused by player-to-player contact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advise young athletes to wear a helmet or face guard any time contact is a possibility. While concussion rates are much higher during games, players should wear the same safety gear during all practices. Consistent encouragement of safety gear use helps to create a culture where the stigma surrounding helmets is reduced and young athletes will choose to wear them even when it’s not required.
Encourage Fair Play
The CDC estimates that as many as 25% of the concussions reported in high school athletes came as the result of aggressive or illegal play. As an athlete, remember that we play sports to push ourselves and have fun, not to hurt other people. The rules of each game are in place to ensure a fun and safe game for all players. Failing to follow the rules is not only bad sportsmanship, it also puts other players at risk. Always play fair, and encourage your teammates and opponents to do the same.
Report all Concussions
Many athletes feel pressure to play with injuries, and as a result, 7 out of 10 youth players report having played in a game with concussion symptoms. Whether you’re concerned about letting your team down by coming out of the game, about jeopardizing your future sports career, or just of looking weak in front of your teammates, understand that traumatic brain injuries are more serious than all of these factors combined. If you are experiencing concussion symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, nausea, and ringing in the ears during a game or practice, don’t try to tough it out. Tell you coach about your symptoms and be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
At NAC Sports Training Center, keeping your kids safe is just as important to us as teaching them how to win. While offering baseball training in Bucks County we will always teach them about proper safety measures and equipment so they can continue playing for many years to come. Get in touch with our Youth Sports Performance Director Doug Sharp by dialing (267) 391-9399 to find out more about all the youth sports programs we offer and everything we do to keep our young athletes safe from head injuries.