As a parent, you have every right to worry about concussions in youth sports. A traumatic brain injury can have lifelong consequences for your son or daughter.
The first thing you have to acknowledge is that every sport comes with risks. The good news is, you can take steps to lessen the dangers.
Preventing an injury
Like any activity involving your child, your involvement is critical. Instead of serving as a passive observer from the sidelines, take an active interest in the sport.
Introduce yourself to the coaches and let them know you are willing to help foster a culture of team safety. Talk to the players about their well-being. Emphasize the importance of reporting head injuries, even if they seem minor. Some concussion symptoms can take days or longer to develop.
Players must know and follow the rules of both their coach and the sport. That means practicing good sportsmanship and never crossing the line with over-aggressive behavior.
Recognizing an injury
No matter how well a team follows safety protocols, injuries are going to happen. So, the next step is knowing when an injured player requires medical attention.
Some signs of a possible concussion are obvious. You may notice a player seems dazed, confused and unsteady on her or his feet. A teen may experience headaches, vomiting or double vision.
Call 911 or take your child to an emergency room at once if you see more serious signs. A few of these include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- A headache that continues to worsen
- Convulsions or seizures
- Problems recognizing people or places
It takes only a moment for a concussion to change your teen’s life. Part of your job as a parent is preparing for that moment.
Protecting the future
Young people often feel they are invincible and do not always act in their most favorable interests. That is why you have to keep a close eye on them, whether they like it or not.
Educate yourself and your teen. Someday they may thank you.