Concussions on the Rise in Youth Sports

It’s hard to turn on the TV or log into a sports website and not hear or read a story involving a major or even career-ending injury of a professional athlete. The unfortunate truth is that they get paid to put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of entertainment; and as Americans, we eat it up faster than a bag of Doritos on Super Bowl Sunday. But it’s a different matter altogether when it comes to our kids. Sports may seem like a birthright to some and a rite of passage to others, but parents ultimately have the final decision in what gets played and when.

Not surprisingly, those decisions have reflected on sign-ups across the country as national youth participation for most of the traditional high impact sports has plummeted since 2009. But in a complete reversal of fortune in true American form, the concussion rates across the country have increased in youth sports. Why is this the case and what can we do as parents to avoid having to seek the advice of a brain injury expert for our children?

What Is the Current Concussion Condition?

First of all, physical activity during adolescence is crucial. It improves mental acuity, stamina, relieves frustration, improves social function, and helps combat serious issues such as diabetes. Sports are an important part of childhood any way you look at it. Kids who play sports are eight times more likely to be active in adulthood. But there are definite risks to the activity that, according to the Aspen Institute, have lead to a significant drop in sports participation. Yet, even with the drop, concussion rates have risen nationwide for youth athletes.

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A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics estimated that up to 2 million concussions occur in America for athletes 18 and younger, and half of those go untreated. This caused FAIR Health to dive further and try to figure out the details behind this epidemic. FAIR’s released infographic uncovered several relative issues. The most glaring discovery was that concussions for Americans under age 22 soared 500% between 2010 and 2014. The study also discovered that in most states boys are more likely to suffer concussions than girls, October and November are the most common months for concussions, and almost half of all reported annual concussions are from high school aged sports participants. That statistic tops the totals of middle school and college sports concussions.

What’s Behind the Sudden Soar?

Before jumping off the cliff and yanking your happy kids or sulking teens out of the activities they dearly love, understand that there could be a comprehensible reason for many of these reports. While several national studies all conclude rises have occurred, the extensive rates of adolescent concussions may have something to do with the fact that there have been stricter mandates since 2009 requiring reporting head trauma caused by sports activity.

Obviously, the more concussions reported, the higher those statistics will soar. Nonetheless, this trend is alarming and should be taken seriously. The good news is that most concussions are minor and heal within a few days or a week. Repeat trauma, however, can lead to serious health issues including the likelihood of incurring more concussions which can become increasingly more severe each time. Sometimes the only thing to do at that point is to seek legal assistance. If you’re faced with that reality, let a competent Ann Arbor Brain Injury Attorney take some of the stress away so your family can heal.

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