Even though most parents are aware of the risks of head and brain injuries in sporting activities, it can send their lives into turmoil when they learn that their child has suffered a concussion or traumatic brain injury.
When brain injuries like concussions occur or are suspected, the coach, league, or team is responsible for ensuring that the child gets the proper medical attention right away and that specific protocols are followed. If they fail to do this, there may be permanent and life-long consequences for the child.
Statistics on concussions among children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost seven percent of children experienced symptoms of concussions in the United States in 2020. Researchers found that the risk increases as children become older: only two percent of children who were ages five and under had suffered a concussion at some point in their lives, while over 12 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 suffered a concussion.
Both girls and boys are at risk of suffering concussions. However, boys have experienced slightly more concussion symptoms than girls. In fact, the data shows almost eight percent of boys have suffered symptoms, while almost six percent of girls have suffered symptoms.
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a study that gave details about which sports had the most reported concussions among children, which include:
|For Boys||For Girls|
· Cross country
· Ice hockey
· Swimming and diving
· Track and Field
· Cross country
· Field hockey
· Swimming and diving
· Track and field
While this is a list of sports with the highest rates of reported youth concussions, it is important to remember that these types of injuries can occur in almost every single sport. Even if a child is wearing a helmet, they still face the risk of suffering a concussion.
Common symptoms to look out for if you suspect your child has a concussion
Many parents who have never suffered a concussion themselves may not be aware of the symptoms to look for when they suspect that their child may have a concussion. Here are some of the symptoms that commonly suggest that your child may be suffering from this type of injury:
- Memory loss
- Balance issues
- Nausea or vomiting
- Vision problems
- Glassy eyes
- Falling or tripping over objects often
- Speech problems
- Mood swings
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Slower reactions
- Sleep issues
- Light sensitivity
Many of these symptoms start off as minor issues and can take days to appear, making them increasingly difficult for parents to notice and pinpoint. However, if a child does not receive the proper medical treatment immediately, it could lead to additional complications and irreversible damage that they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives.
What if a child is experiencing symptoms of a concussion during a sports activity?
If a coach, referee, or parent notices that a child is showing signs or symptoms of a concussion during a sports game or practice, the child should be immediately removed from the activity. It is critical that the child receive medical attention from a licensed physician as quickly as possible. The physician will assess the child’s head and injuries to determine if a concussion or brain injury is present. Then, it becomes their responsibility to decide when and if the child can play or participate in the sport activity again.
It is highly recommended that coaches of sports teams have certification or training in concussion management as this reduces the long-term effects of concussions. This type of training will inform the coach of what to keep an eye out for as well as what to do when a situation occurs where a child may have a concussion.
How physical therapy can help with concussion recovery
Physical therapists are highly trained and available to assist your child with concussion recovery. However, every concussion is unique and different, meaning that a physical therapist will need to evaluate your child’s injury and determine what type of treatment will work best for them. Some of the recommended physical therapy treatments for concussions are:
- Gaining endurance and strength back: When an individual suffers a concussion, they most likely will experience muscle weakness. Your physical therapist will work with your child to help them gain their strength and endurance back whenever they are fully ready. This will consist of developing an exercise plan tailored to their needs. The physical therapist will watch your child do the planned activities while making sure that their concussion symptoms do not reappear or become worse.
- Lots of rest: A physical therapist will go over what your child needs to recover from their concussion, which includes lots of rest. By allowing your child to rest, their brain will heal, and their symptoms will begin to resolve over time. The physical therapist will provide a detailed plan of when rest should occur throughout the day.
- Headache reduction plans: Many people who suffer from concussions have severe and long-lasting headaches. Therefore, a physical therapist will use their knowledge and experience to help your child find ways to reduce their headaches. This may include motion exercises, stretches, strength exercises, and eye techniques.
- Decreasing dizziness and improving balance: Dizziness and balance issues are two of the most common symptoms of a concussion. That said, a physical therapist will use vestibular therapy to help decrease and improve these symptoms. This type of therapy focuses on the inner ear, which connects to your brain and causes balancing and dizziness problems.
Once the physical therapist believes that your child has successfully completed all necessary therapy programs, they will determine if your child’s concussion symptoms have disappeared and if they can return to their sport activities. It is important that your child is not released too soon, or their symptoms may return.
At Soroka & Associates, our Columbus personal injury lawyers know that concussions among children can cause stress and devastation. Therefore, we stand with parents and believe they should have the ability to hold the negligent parties accountable and receive compensation for the cost of their child’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with their injury.
Our team will look over your case, explain your legal options, and work hard to ensure that you are given peace of mind. When you are ready to seek justice, please contact Soroka & Associates in Columbus, and we will help you file a youth concussion lawsuit. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.