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Children’s Sports and Concussions – When Is It Safe for Child Athletes to Return to Play?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Child athletes sustain concussions more frequently than the average parent or coach would imagine. For example, take the recent situation of 11-year-old Rachel Ernst. Rachel was playing in a soccer game when Rachel and an opponent jumped for the ball, missing the ball and hitting each others skulls instead. After a trip to the emergency room, Rachel was diagnosed with a mild concussion. She is now one of a dozen youth athletes that are participating in a local study aimed to reveal the consequences of concussions in teens and children.

A main goal of the local research is to make youth sports safer for young athletes, as well as provide doctors, parents and coaches on whether it is safe to bring the injured child back into play. Recently, concussions have become a hot topic. A study reported in the August edition of Pediatrics revealed that although the number of children participating in team sports had declined, the number of children between the ages of 8-13 who were treated for concussions while playing team sports doubled from 1997 to 2007. For older children, the number of reported concussions more than doubled.

Because of the increased awareness about the dangers of concussions coaches and athletic trainers are becoming more educated on spotting the warning signs that a youth player has sustained a concussion. Also, many teams are starting to require that a child athlete sit out for a week or two after sustaining a concussion. If you would like to read more on this topic please see Dangers of concussions to youth athletes.

The more educated parents and coaches become about the risks involved after a young athlete sustained a concussion the safer sports will be for youth athletes. If not diagnosed or treated early enough the consequences could be severe – sometimes permanent brain damage could occur. Therefore, education and awareness is key to prevention. If you would like to read more information on concussions and youth athletes please see Parents Lack Important Knowledge and Experience Regarding Dangers of Concussions to Children.