Healthwise: Youth Sports and Concussions

By: Stephanie Satchell Email
By: Stephanie Satchell Email

December 8, 2010

A concussion is a serious injury caused by any force that creates jolting to the head or neck. About 300 million people each year are diagnosed with one, many of which are caused during athletic competition.

Dr. Phyllis Montellese treats concussion patients at Palmyra Medical Associates and says it's an injury that has become more common in youth sports. “Anything with more contact; sports like football, hockey and soccer,” she explained. “Anything where there's going to be that kind of impact. It can be where someone runs into or bangs into or has a sudden stop-start.”

If your child is on the receiving end of that impact, how do you know when it's time to pull him/her out of the game? Dr. Montellese says common symptoms include a headache, nausea, vomiting and problems thinking or focusing.

“You may see them stagger or be a little bit uneasy. They many not remember the team they were playing,” she said.

Doctors say it may be time to head to the emergency room if your child is experiencing decreased levels of consciousness, loss of movement or seizure-like activity. Despite the symptoms and red flags, however, Dr. Montellese says there is plenty of pressure to get back in the game. But she says that's not worth the risk of permanent damage.

“You have a developing brain and a mechanical force to that brain that is affecting neurological function in a way that we don't completely understand. But we know that there are cognitive and functional deficiencies that occur as a result,” she said.

Treatment for a concussion is typically just mental and physical rest and recovery time is usually around a week.

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