Contact Sports-Related Head Injuries
We often hear about tragic stories of professional athletes suffering traumatic contact sports-related head injuries.
Unfortunately, sports-related head injuries are not exclusive to elite pro athletes; they can happen to anyone, including kids who play contact sports at school.
A paper from the Journal of Neurosurgery, states there are approximately 500,000 emergency room visits and 60,000 hospitalization every year due to traumatic brain injuries in children ages 0-17.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Any injury that occurs on your skull, scalp, or brain is considered a head injury.
Head injuries could be something as innocent as a bump or bruise on your head to something as life-threatening as a skull fracture.
The more severe types of head injuries are known as traumatic brain injuries (TBI). A traumatic brain injury happens when we receive a blow or jolt to the head or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.
Traumatic brain injuries are so severe they that disrupts the normal function of the brain and can cause life-long physical or mental disabilities or even death.
Concussions in Young Athletes
One of the most common contact sports-related head injuries are concussions. Whether your child plays football, soccer, baseball, or hockey, getting a concussion is a serious risk to young athletes.
Parents and coaches of children who play sports, especially contact sports need to educate young athletes on how to recognize the symptoms of a concussion.
If your kids get injured and they don’t know what to look for they could keep on playing, which will put them at risk of a more significant injury.
Symptoms young athletes should look out for:
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”
Coaches and trainers should be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- The child appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment or position
- Forgets an instruction
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
- Can’t recall events before the hit or fall
- Can’t recall events after hit or fall
Parents should also be on the lookout for possible concussion symptoms as these could show hours after the incident. If your teen shows any of the symptoms above, they likely have a concussion, and you should seek immediate medical attention.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
When to Go to The ER for a Head Injury
Not all head injuries require a trip to our ER. However, you should bring your child for evaluation in the following cases:
- The injury won’t stop bleeding
- Your child lost consciousness or is confused/disoriented
- Is vomiting or feels nauseated
- Have trouble balancing or walking
- Has difficulty remembering stuff
- Has a seizure
You should monitor your kids for a few days after they sustained the injury to make sure they don’t develop symptoms.
If you notice any of the following, you need to bring them to the ER immediately:
- They have a headache that won’t go away
- Show unusual behavior, experience mood swings or have trouble concentrating
- Have trouble reading, writing or slur their speech
- Feel numbness, dizziness or weakness in any body part
- Have difficulty falling asleep or waking up
- Have difficulty moving their eyes or notice changes in their eyesight
It’s Better to Be Safe
If you are not sure if your child has a traumatic brain injury, the best thing to do is to bring them to the nearest Altus Emergency Center. It’s better to be safe and have our doctors examine them.
Remember, Altus Emergency Centers are open 24/7 every day of the year; we will always be here for you and your family in times of need.
At Altus Emergency Centers, we are always open to treat any emergency. Remember if you use our online check-in form, we will be waiting for you at the door.