The Center for Disease Control estimates that between 1.6 and 3.8 million concussions occur each year in American sports. Furthermore, 30 percent of these concussions will occur to athletes between 5 and 19 years old. The CDC lists football, ice hockey, wrestling, girls soccer, boys soccer and girls basketball as the American sports most likely to produce concussions.
For those unaware, a concussion disrupts your brain’s ability to operate at full capacity. Essentially, after a blow to the head a victim’s head suffers from a supply-and-demand energy imbalance. Until proper blood flow returns, the brain fails to fully recover. While most individuals recover in a week or two, others can take weeks or months.
If you notice an athlete displaying poor coordination, looking “out of it” or having trouble retaining information, these are just a few signs they may need to undergo concussion testing protocols.
If it is determined that you or your athlete have a concussion, avoid activities that can further strain the imbalanced supply-and-demand in the brain. These activities include watching television or other time consuming screens, reading, writing, music and bright lighting. While seemingly harmless, these can all cause strain on the brain–potentially lengthening the recovery process.
Furthermore, the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHoA) Concussion Program suggests a recovery plan that eases the individual back into daily life. A “recovery plan” can include shorter school days, modified coursework/tests and avoiding noisy areas that cause strain until the athlete is deemed fully recovered. Additionally the CHoA recommends physical rest that comprises a seven-step program that eases an athlete into their usual regimen. By implementing the seven-step program, all parties can ensure that the athlete is symptom free, back to their usual routine comfortably and cleared to play at full strength.
For a detailed look at concussions and their treatment, visit CHOA.org.