Visit PlayKidsSports on Facebook
Visit PlayKidsSports on Twitter
Visit PlayKidsSports on Pinterest
Visit PlayKidsSports on Instagram

Concussions in Sports

In the mid 1990's concussions in sports were not diagnosed as often as they are today, usually because we didn't realize they actually had one.

If a kid was hit in the head during a game, their coach might ask them if they were okay. If the kid said they were fine, the coach would actually put that kid back in the same game.

Early Concussions

My husband played lots of football in high school and college, and he experienced concussions first hand.

In one game he was knocked out cold from a blow to his head! He laid on the training table for a while until the coach asked if he was ready to go back in the game.

He was back in the same game a few minutes later! ...Unbelievable!!!

This is definitely not the way it happens today.

Researchers found evidence over the years that concussions in sports are far more frequent. If any force to the head occurs to a child in sports today, it is immediately assessed in detail.

Concussion Monitoring

Most schools now monitor these head injuries by taking baseline measurements of a player’s health before the sport season begins. Then if an injury occurs they can compare the before and after results.

Our son was pulled from his football game in 2011 even though he was not knocked out from a blow to his head. A medical professional immediately evaluated him.

He was not allowed back in the same game to prevent any further damage.

Any direct blow to the head is now seriously evaluated no matter how hard they were hit. We want to detect signs of a concussion as soon as possible and remove the injured player from any risk of further trauma.

Since most schools now recognize the threat of possible concussions in sports, they formed strict rules around the prevention and treatment for this injury.

What Is a Concussion?

The most basic description of a concussion is: a brain injury.

Concussions in sports can occur in any game or practice at any time, and sometimes there are no immediate signs to recognize them.

The severity of the brain injury or concussion can vary from mildly damaging to major concern or even immediate death.

Concussions occur most commonly from a direct force to the head, but an indirect force such as a nearby explosion could also cause them.

Basically anything that jolts or jars the head causing the brain to shift inside the skull can cause a concussion.

When the brain shifts with force, it can injure or bruise the brain’s cellular tissue. This kind of injury to the brain can be very difficult to treat due to the complexity of determining the extent of damage that may have been caused.

Many cases only time will determine the full effect of a brain injury from one or multiple concussions. This is due to the damaged parts of the brain deteriorating more rapidly over time than healthy brain tissue.

Most Common Ways To Get A Concussion:

  • Sports - Playing sports such as football, basketball, soccer, baseball, skiing or hockey to name a few
  • Accident - Bike or skateboard accident
  • No Seat Belt - Car accident
  • Fighting - Kids should refrain from fighting other kids at all costs
  • Falling - Any type of fall such as playground, falling down stairs, tripping

My son, Tucker, sustained three concussions in sports all while playing football his freshman year of high school. Even though they all occurred while playing the same sport, he was doing something slightly different for each one.

I was shocked that all of these happened for him in the same year. He had been playing football since the fifth grade, and he never had a single concussion or any type of injury for that matter.

More than one concussion?

His first concussion happened during football practice when he was one on one with another player practicing their tackling. He simply rammed into his opponent straightforward with his head using the wrong tackling form and was knocked out.

His second concussion happened in a game when a player from the other team hit his helmet with their helmet trying to tackle him in the open field.

This helmet-to-helmet contact was a penalty for the other team, but the concussion damage had already taken place. He actually jumped up right after the play was over then collapsed on the field a few seconds later.

He got his third concussion from a hit in the chest, but the jar from that hit caused enough force to injure his head a third time. He was not knocked out from this one, but he was not allowed to go back in the game.

This is why stress that after getting one concussion, you are far more susceptible to getting more. 

After each concussion he had to stay out of football practices and games for over a week until the doctor cleared him to return.

Even though my son only received his concussions in football, I have seen them happen to other players in other sports my son’s played.

I witnessed a boy get a concussion from being hit in the helmet from a baseball pitch. I've also seen two kids collide heads in a soccer game going after the ball.

The possibilities of getting concussions in sports are endless, but that doesn't mean we have to stop playing the sports we love.

We can take precautions to prevent concussions in sports by either not playing a sport at all or we can take precautions that still allow our kids to participate in these exciting things in life.

Concussions in Football

When thinking of concussions in sports, football is probably the first sport that comes to mind. Of course boxing would be an obvious choice, but for now we’ll just stick to sports traditionally practiced in local schools.

Since tackling obviously plays a vital role in football, it is probably the most common way to receive a blow to the head for this very rough, physical sport.

We need to train our football players on proper tackling techniques to prevent the possibility of them receiving concussions.

How To Prevent Concussions In Sports

To help prevent concussions in sports we start with the gear we wear to protect our head, mainly the helmet.

The way a helmet fits on your head when playing tackle football is extremely important.

How should a football helmet fit?

Helmets should fit correctly or your child will be in danger of sustaining a concussion. A helmet that fits too tight or does not fit correctly will put them at a much higher risk for this injury.

The pads inside the front of the helmet next to the forehead should come above the eyebrows and fit snug but not uncomfortable.

If the helmet is too tight, the pads will already be compressed to the head leaving no more cushion protection for a potential impact to the skull.

If the helmet is too loose, then it can bounce back to the head like a battering ram. You should be able to fit your pinky inside the helmet between the forehead and the pad, but it should not be too tight and not compressing the pad.

What are some precautionary measures to prevent concussions?

  • Playing Time - Players should not be on the field for an entire game. The more playing time on the field or in a game, the greater the possibility for getting any injury including a concussion.
  • Rest Time - Players should get sufficient rest so they are not too tired to prepare for a hard hit.
  • Helmet Wearing - Teams should evaluate the safety and proper fitting of their helmets. During my son, Tucker’s, freshman year several kids received concussions during practices before the season even started. The team got new helmets the following year.
  • Playing Technique - Players need to learn proper playing techniques for preventing injuries.
  • Seat Belts - When riding in a motor vehicle, always wear a seatbelt.
  • Helmet Safety - wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, bicycle or skateboard.
  • Playground Safety - Make sure playgrounds for kids have a surface made of safer material in case a child falls.
  • General Safety - Keep stairs and hallways in and outside of your home clear of clutter to prevent tripping.

How To Detect a Concussion

  • Dizziness
  • Memory - Can’t remember basic things (own name, date, where they are, etc…)
  • Confusion
  • Tired or Slow
  • Loss of Concentration

The above are basic symptoms, but a medical professional will perform specific tests to determine if a concussion has occurred.

The schools in our area now perform baseline assessments on each kid playing in a sport before they even begin practicing. This baseline shows how each kid should act or respond when they are in a healthy state.

If these kids then sustain concussions in sports, the diagnosis of it being a concussion can be better determined. The same baseline assessment test is then administered and they evaluate the before and after differences.

Treatment For a Concussion

Treatment for a concussion is very different from any other treatment caused by a force. It is an injury that is not always visible from the outside of the body, and it is very tricky to determine the severity of this injury.

Basically your medical professional will tell someone with a concussion to rest not only their body, but also their mind. They will actually prescribe them to stay away from schoolwork for a short time. I know the kids might find this funny, but it is the truth.

On the same token, kids diagnosed with a concussion should not play video games or text on their phones. The kids stop laughing when they hear this part.

Schoolwork, video games and texting require a thought process involving a certain amount of brain activity. When your brain is where the injury occurred, that part should rest rather than be stimulated.

Make sure your player gets sufficient healing time and has been cleared by a doctor before they go back to playing their sport after a concussion diagnoses and treatment.

My son had to see a neurologist after each of his concussions who prescribed all of the above. He seemed to mostly recover in a few days, but the doctor didn’t clear him back to sports for more than a week later.

Long Term Effects From a Concussion

Studies have shown some effects from brain injuries do not show up for years after the initial concussion or concussions occurred.

Sine my son receive these concussions in sports he started suffering from migraines very easily. If this is the only long-term effect he endures, we feel lucky.

Other long-term effects from concussions could include more serious conditions. They could range from irritability to symptoms similar to Parkinson's Disease.

Please always consult your physician right away if you believe you or your child has suffered from a concussion.

Similar Pages:

Play Kids Sports Home Page

Tackle Football

5 Best Football Cleats

5 Best Football Gloves

Flag Football

Football Tryouts

Football Coach Expectations

Coaching Kids

Concussions in Sports