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How Severe are concussions (Traumatic Brain Injuries) in youth football?
Currently there is no definitive answer to this pressing question. One thing is certain, participation in youth football programs has declined considerably. After 16 consecutive years of growth the number of youths playing football nationally has dropped by over a million kids from 10.1 million in 2006 to 9 million in 2011. 1. Organizers and coaches are left with conjecture as to why. Considering the recent barrage of news related to concussion injuries in professional football players (see references below), this news stands as a reasonable explanation why parents are not allowing their kids to play football. The Institute of Medicine performed research related to concussions among football players. The study was at least partially funded by the NFL, found that in most cases, concussions symptoms disappear within two weeks. 10-20% of individuals concussive symptoms persist for a number of weeks, months, or even years as noted by the authors. 2.
As a parent what can you do about concussions?
1. Educate yourself, coaches, other parents and athletes Understand the signs and symptoms to look for related to concussions (Mild-Severe Traumatic Brain Injury). There are many myths surrounding concussions. Take a look at the infographic included with this post and here is an excellent link to more specific concussion related information. ( http://www.chop.edu/service/concussion-care-for-kids/concussion-educational-tools/ ) 2. Remove an injured athlete from play If an athlete exhibits concussion related symptoms then they should be removed from the field of play immediately. Symptoms include but are not limited to headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to light. 3. Obtain permission to return to play Athletes suspected of brain injury should be evaluated and treated by a healthcare professional before they are allowed to continue playing. Treatment often includes strict restriction from physical activities and those requiring increased brain function (brain rest) such as computer use, school work and other brain focussed activities. Football is the number one cause of head injuries in high school and only second next to bicycle riding in the number of people under 19 years old injured. 3.
The CDC research study, which was an analysis of peer-reviewed studies on head trauma in a variety of high school sports, estimated that high school football players suffered 11.2 concussions for every 10,000 games and practices.
The CDC research study, which was an analysis of peer-reviewed studies on head trauma in a variety of high school sports, estimated that high school football players suffered 11.2 concussions for every 10,000 games and practices. Among college players, the rate stood at 6.3. 4. How extensive are repetitive head impacts and concussion injuries? Does long term head injury exposure cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)? The supporting scientific literature is incomplete when it comes to answering these questions. But, legal rulings have paid settlements demonstrating some correlation between the two. 5. What is understood about this elusive injury? Keep in mind that trauma to the brain affects the function of your brain, not the structure. This is like your computer software working improperly while the hardware is completely normal. Some recent investigating, however, is showing the presence of chemical and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) evidence to support a possible diagnostic indicator related to head trauma. And with a steady number of NFL player head injuries every year their is no shortage of research study subjects. The question of the long term effects are unknown at this time. 8. Do your children play youth football here Iowa and should they be allowed? Let us know your thoughts. References: 1. Football concussion fallout extends to youth programs http://www.startribune.com/sports/165004946.html 2. Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2013/Sports-Related-Concussions-in-Youth-Improving-the-Science-Changing-the-Culture.aspx 3. Nonfatal Traumatic Brain Injuries Related to Sports and Recreation Activities Among Persons Aged ≤19 Years — United States, 2001–2009 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6039a1.htm 4. High School Football Players Face Bigger Concussion Risk http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sports/league-of-denial/high-school-football-players-face-bigger-concussion-risk/ 5. NFL, former players reach settlement in concussion lawsuit. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/23380915/nfl-former-players-reach-settlement-in-concussion-lawsuit 6. Football concussion fallout extends to youth programs http://www.startribune.com/sports/165004946.html 7. A tale of two former NFL players — and their brains http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/01/health/nfl-players-brains/index.html 8. Duper, latest NFL star to test positive for signs of CTE [Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy] http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/bruce-feldman/24204896/duper-latest-exnfl-star-to-test-positive-for-signs-of-cte