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Children & Contact Sports

According to a research study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year an average of 283,000 children under 18 years old are admitted to emergency rooms for sports/recreation related traumatic brain injuries. Within this group, about 45% of the visits were for brain injuries caused by contact sports. In particular, football among males and soccer among females.

Between the years of 2010 and 2016, about 2 million children visited the emergency room for traumatic brain injury sustained during sports/recreation related activities. The study reports that the majority of the diagnoses comprised of concussion or internal organ injury, with TBI-related diagnoses contributing to psychological, emotional, and cognitive damage in children’s brains.

The report also notes that due to successful prevention efforts, reduced participation, and rule changes in sports, there has been a “leveling off” of TBI-related visits among youth since 2012. This sheds light on the importance of evidence-based studies and interventions regarding contact sports and recreation activities in order to ensure the future safety and health of children.

There are many advantages to children participating in sports including building self-esteem, social skills, discipline, teamwork, and numerous health benefits. Here are some ways you can keep your children safe and reduce risk of injury while they participate in contact sports:

Discuss the topic of sports safety with your children, coaches, and officialsEnsure safe and proper equipment Be aware of concussion signs and symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, imbalance, and nauseaBe aware of concussion treatment guidelines such as getting immediate medical attention and rest, both physical and mental.


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