For parents, all of the talk about concussions in youth sports and new guidelines can be scary and confusing. But, good parents also want their kids to be active and healthy so they let their children play, putting their trust into these new safety guidelines that they often don’t understand.
The concussion guidelines released this March are comprehensive, but that means they can also be a little hard to decipher for many parents. These guidelines are aimed at protecting the brains of athletes at all levels of sports in all different games, from professional soccer, to youth baseball, and freestyle skiing.
While these guidelines cover a lot of different information and scenarios, they can also be simplified down to one phrase; “When in doubt, sit it out.”
Concussions are serious brain injuries that are not always easy to identify, so it is important to not take risks when you suspect you have a traumatic brain injury. Repeated brain injuries are increasingly dangerous, so heading back onto the field too quickly puts you at much greater risk than your teammates.
The symptoms can be subtle, so it can be hard to pinpoint these signs, especially in a heated competitive atmosphere. The most commonly associated sign of a concussion is loss of consciousness, but that does not always occur. TBI patients also commonly experience confusion or memory problems in the time following the injury. There are also much more common symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and headaches.
As Daily Journal Online explains, the new guidelines try to remove guesswork from the equation as much as possible. They are stricter, requiring that players be immediately removed from play if they are suspected of a brain injury, and mandates that they shouldn’t return to play until they have been cleared by a health care provider.
While not all concussions are dangerous – most recover from a mild concussion within minutes or hours, though it can take up to a week – repeated concussions are the biggest concern for sports because they do significantly more damage which can be permanent.