Back to school, every parent’s favorite time of year, is here. September signals the start of another year of packing school lunches, late nights completing homework, and a wide array of extracurricular activities. The U.S. Census estimates that during the 2014-2015 school year, 57% of children between the ages 6 and 17 years old participate in at least one after-school extracurricular activity, with a significantly higher percentage of those children participating in sports as opposed to clubs or lessons.
Participation in sports undoubtedly has its plusses and minuses. Through involvement in sports, children are taught healthy competition, how to be a team player, and stay active. However, participation in sports exposes children to a host of dangers, including broken bones and concussions, with football, soccer, and basketball having the highest rates of concussions for high school athletes. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that up to 3.8 million recreation and sports related concussions occur annually in the United States and represent 9% of all high school athletic injuries. In 2013, the Youth Sports Safety Alliance estimated that 8,000 children were treated in ERs across the country each day for concussions.
The CDC describes concussions as “a type of traumatic brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works.” They are caused by “a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth,” and can cause “the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain,” resulting in serious and sometimes permanent injury. However, an overwhelming majority of concussions do not result in loss of consciousness, making early diagnosis difficult.
Even if your school age child does not participate in sports, he or she is at risk of suffering a concussion in gym class, during recess, and while at play, generally. It is important to always be on the lookout for concussion danger signs, including: one pupil appearing larger than the other; drowsiness or an inability to wake up; a headache that worsens or persists; slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination; repeated vomiting or nausea; convulsions or seizures; unusual behavior; confusion; restlessness; agitation; loss of consciousness, no matter how brief. If you recognize any of these signs in your loved one, it is important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
If you, or anyone you know, have suffered a sports injury, car accident, slip and fall, or other accident, the dedicated team of trial attorneys at Keefe Law Firm is here to help you. Call us at 732-224-9400 or 1-877-ATTY-247 to set up a free consultation, today.