For decades, concussions were brushed off as not serious. The euphemisms created to describe concussions, such as “seeing stars”, or getting your “bell rung” all seem to mitigate the reality that concussions are brain injuries. Often children who suffered concussions while playing sports were dismissively told to “walk it off,” as their injury was belittled, or considered “part of the game”. But modern medical science has shown that concussions are far more serious than we previously thought.
From post-concussive syndrome to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the serious complications relating to traumatic brain injury are more visible today than they ever have been before, which is why it’s more important than ever to impress upon youth athletes the importance of addressing concussions, and not trying to “tough it out.”
A recent survey showed that 32% of high school football players had sustained concussion-like symptoms over the two years previous, but failed to seek any treatment out of fear that they would be excluded from play. While their fear is justified, concussion protocols have been put in place to protect athletes who have sustained head injuries, it’s imperative that they understand that being removed from play can save them from permanent brain damage, it can even save their life.
Youth athletics have made strides to educate parents and athletes, and take concussions more seriously, but the culture around youth sports still needs to catch up. Anybody can sustain a concussion, and youth athletes need to understand that it’s not a sign of weakness if they get concussed, and it’s not a sign of weakness if they wait til they’re fully recovered before returning to play.
Parents need to impress upon their children the importance of recognizing concussions and recovering fully before returning to play. Coaches need to do more than just abide by the new procedures in place, they need to change the culture around youth athletics, so that young athletes can seek treatment for head injuries without being stigmatized as weak.
If your child does suffer a concussion with lasting effects, there is help. At Plasticity Brain Centers we focus on helping people with brain injuries or dysfunction. We develop a personalized treatment program for each patient so that they get the care they need, not just a one-size-fits-all approach. For more information on our concussion services, please contact us today.