Play it safe when it comes to concussions

Published On: Feb 21 2012 12:45:32 PM EST   Updated On: Aug 21 2012 04:09:41 PM EDT
headache, child

(NewsUSA) - More than 38 million boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 18 participate in organized youth sports. And while sports can be a fun way to socialize and instill values such as teamwork, physical activity can also mean potential for injuries.

Coaches, parents and athletes need to be on the lookout for injuries, especially more serious types of injuries such as concussions.

Recognizing such injuries and being proactive are key because approximately 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year. So, what may seem to be a mild bump or blow to the head can often be far more serious.

Contact between athletes, collisions between athletes and objects such as goalposts or hurdles or simple falls can all result in concussions, which cause the brain to move rapidly inside the skull.

Should a concussion occur on the playing field, there are many signs and symptoms that coaches and parents need to know. For example, athletes who experience any kind of change in behavior, thinking or physical functioning may be in need of care.

As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stepped in to help with the development of the "Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports" tool kit.

The kit provides a comprehensive list of signs and symptoms of a concussion as well as important steps to take when a concussion is suspected. The materials are available in both English and Spanish and include:

* a fact sheet for coaches

* a fact sheet for athletes

* a fact sheet for parents

* clipboards with concussion facts for coaches

* magnets with concussion facts for coaches and parents

* posters with concussion facts for coaches and sports administrators

* a quiz for coaches, athletes and parents