Youth Sports and Concussions: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

medical centerAs the school year begins, so do fall sports like football, cross country, and soccer. Like with any sport, there's a risk of injury. One common injury seen in the fall amongst athletes is concussions. As a parent or coach, it's important to ensure your young athletes are aware of the risks of the game and how to stay safe while participating. Teaching them about the risks of receiving a concussion will allow them to be mindful of this injury while playing. This article takes a closer look at the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of concussions, a problem that's finally receiving attention in many youth sports leagues.

What causes a concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a variety of things. Common causes include bumps or blows to the head, falls, car accidents, and sport injuries. A concussion is typically not life-threatening, but it is still important to seek treatment at a medical center.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Some common symptoms of a concussion include:
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depression
  • Blurry vision
  • Seizures
Symptoms typically last between six and ten days. It's crucial to be mindful of these symptoms, and take notice if any of these symptoms continue to worsen or become life-threatening.

How can a concussion be treated?

Rest is the main treatment doctors recommend. Depending on the severity of the concussion, time off from work or school may be necessary. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for a concussion, but here are some general things that will help the brain heal:
  • If the injury occurred during a game or practice, immediately remove the player from the field
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Try to avoid things like television and music
  • Avoid strenuous tasks
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Avoid alcohol, unless your doctor says it's okay
  • Take only prescribed drugs
The most important thing you can do is talk to a doctor. A walk-in urgent care can be a great alternative if you don't want to go to the emergency room or can't get in to see your normal physician right away. An urgent care medical center is also a good option if the injury occurs during an evening practice or weekend game. About 97% of urgent care clinics operate seven days a week and 99% are open at least four hours each day.

What are some ways to prevent concussions?

While most concussions are unforeseen, there are a few things you can tell your athletes to do to reduce the risk of a concussion:
  • Wear the required equipment for the sport and wear it correctly. Even if it's just practice, improper use of equipment greatly increases the chance of getting a concussion.
  • Scope out the playing field before the game or practice to ensure there are no holes or extremely uneven ground that may cause injuries.
  • Learn proper technique for the sport and play by the rules. Practicing good sportsmanship also reduces the chance of receiving or causing a concussion.
So no matter what sport your athlete is participating in, it's important for them to be aware of the risks of concussions and how to avoid them. If a concussion is received by a young athlete, visiting a medical center will allow him or her to receive the best care for their injury as well as be informed of when they can safely return to playing.