CONCUSSIONS AND SPORTS

In an article entitled “Concussions Are A Serious Concern For Young Athletes” in the Journal News on May 5, 2015 by Heather Salerno points out that a recent survey of emergency room visits that athletes visit, more than one million times a year for sports related injuries.  Concussions account for more than 12% of these visits.  This type of traumatic brain injury is particularly serious for children because their bodies take longer to recover.  Repeated concussions cause worry since there is concern about prolonged effect such as cognitive decline and dementia later in life.

Symptoms can be subtle and don’t have to show up immediately.  It can take days or weeks before symptoms are apparent such as dizziness, lightheadedness, loss of balance and sometimes headaches.   Kids have trouble concentrating or paying attention in school.  Emotionally they can be impulsive or less motivated.  The article points out that it is a myth that you have to pass out to have a concussion.  Rest is the foremost thing whether it is cognitive rest, physical rest or emotional rest.  Kids after having symptoms need to stop or limit mental stimulation like using their phone or tablet, watching television, studying and homework may need to be stopped or limited and stay out of activities to avoid a second concussion.  A concussion is not something you can take a picture of.  You don’t know how bad a concussion is.  90% of kids get better in a week or two, but 10% don’t recover that fast.

 

The impact of a football player being hit by another football player could be up to 25 mph.  When one heads a soccer ball could create a 70 mph impact.  Some startling numbers!  The school must have a team approach.  The majority of concussions occur in practice so it takes close monitoring by coaches and people (other players) on the sidelines.  If a student suspects that have been injured, they need to inform their coaches.  They cannot “be tough and stay in the game”.  The article points out it’s the responsibility of all members, coaches, teachers, parents and athletes on the field to protect each other.

Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut points out that lacrosse may be bad for the brain.  In an article in the Westchester Business Journal on December 28, 2015 by Bill Fallar, Sacred Heart University athlete training education program was awarded a $15,000 grant to study the effects of on the field head impacts over the course of men’s lacrosse season.  The study is titled “The Effect of Cumulative Impacts on Vestibular Ocular Reflex in Division I Men’s Lacrosse Players”.  Little research has been focused on lacrosse.  It is a high contact equipment intensive sport that needs more research.  US Lacrosse awarded the grant to allow SHU to purchase equipment needed to conduct the research including helmet sensors to record the severity and frequency of head impacts.  “Our primary goal is to investigate the potential cumulative effect of sub concussive impact on collegiate lacrosse players ultimately to improve player safety”.

“School have concussion protocol in place” according to an article in The Journal News on January 24, 2016 by Dr. Adrienne-Weiss Harrison and Steve Young.  The approach includes coach, parent and student education establishing base line testing for all athletes involved in collision/contact sports through “impact test removal from players with head injuries”.  A dual system of monitoring students, treating physicians and district clinical staff as well as modifications to provide recuperation from concussions.  The article points out “return to play” protocols that allow an athlete a gradual return to their sport once they have been cleared to return.
There are active school health and athlete organizations in Westchester and are aware of many other school district athlete programs that have strong concussion programs in place per the guidelines established by The New York State Public High School Athletic Association and The New York State Education Department.  These organizations require coaches and physical education teachers to take a concussion management course through the National Federation of High Schools or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  The article sets forth that Westchester County Executive, Rob Asterino’s task force to address in concussions management education and prevention, the following:

  1. Establish concussion management protocols for many recreational sport leagues in Westchester County;
  2. Create a County program that educates parents about the signs of a concussion and what to do when their child suffers a concussion;
  3. Provide a continuing medical education course of study for emergency room physicians and office based practitioners and
  4. Develop prevention strategies specific to each high risk sport.

If you or your child has suffered personal injuries from contact sports and their school does not have concussion protocol, they can be held responsible to the injured child or player for that personal injury or head concussions, call the law firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800.or visit us on the web at White-Plains-Personal-Injury-Lawyer.com or e-mail us at djrobolaw@aol.com.