Create lasting lessons with these memorable facts.
Young people tend to have a mentality of invincibility, and it’s often difficult to help them understand all of the risks and dangers that exist in the world while also letting them still be kids.
When it comes to concussion prevention and education, underscoring a few key facts will help students, as well as educators, stay vigilant about the dangers that concussions can present.
- A concussion is a traumatic brain injury
- Causes of concussions
- Signs of a concussion
- TBIs are more dangerous for young people
- Second Impact Syndrome
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury
According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur in the United States each year. Despite being relatively common, concussions are indeed considered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and need to be assessed and treated quickly. A person may “feel fine” and even may wish to continue playing or competing, but it’s vital that they be evaluated by a coach, parent, or another adult who can make the determination about whether to seek medical attention.
Causes of concussions
Falls lead to nearly half of all TBI-related hospitalizations. Concussions result from any vigorous hit to the head, neck, face, or body that causes a rapid acceleration of the brain. Football accounts for roughly 60% of all reported concussions in high school sports — by far the leading cause of concussions among males, while soccer is the leading cause of sports-related concussions for females.
Signs of a concussion
The signs can be difficult to identify immediately, but those who have reported a concussion say the symptoms that present first include headache or pressure on the head, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and feeling confused.
Parents of students who have sustained concussions report that their child appeared dazed or stunned, moved clumsily, and spoke very slowly. Loss of consciousness is also a commonly reported result of a concussion, but just because a person stays conscious does not necessarily mean they didn’t suffer a concussion, particularly if any of the other symptoms are present.
TBIs are more dangerous for young people
Concussions and other TBIs are more harmful to children with still-developing brains. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “children may experience changes in their health, thinking, and behavior that affect learning, self-regulation, and social participation” resulting from a TBI.
People younger than 24 and people older than 75 are at the most significant risk for concussion. According to a study from the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine, of nearly 44,000 patients diagnosed with concussions, 55% were male, and 32% were in the adolescent age group (ages 10-19).
Second Impact Syndrome
People who have suffered a concussion in the past are more susceptible to another concussion in the future. This can be especially problematic if the subsequent concussion is sustained before the first has an opportunity to fully heal; when this happens, a patient is at risk for what’s known as Second Impact Syndrome, or SIS.
While SIS is rare, it is often fatal or can leave otherwise healthy, young people with severe disabilities. The second impact does not need to be stronger than the first concussion event to trigger SIS, either. The possibility of SIS makes it even more crucial for young people, parents, teachers, and sports coaches to understand the importance of sitting out an activity and seeking medical attention after a potential concussion.