What you need to know about concussions before sending your kids out on the sports field

School is back in session, and that means kids are back to playing sports. Dave Weikel, Chief Athletic Trainer, St Vincent Sports Performance, heads up the team of athletic trainers at high schools across the area who are the first responders to concussions, specifically in high school sports. Fall sports – including football – can raises concussion concerns for many parents. St Vincent Sports Performance has what every parent needs to know.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

• How do parents know if their child might have a concussion? What are the symptoms?
• We’ve heard about baseline testing for athletes. What is it and why is it important?
• There’s been considerable attention from lawmakers on concussion injuries of late. What can you tell us about state laws affecting high school sports and concussions?
• Can equipment help prevent concussions? Or limit their impact?

Individuals react differently to concussions, but those who have suffered a concussion typically exhibit a combination of the following symptoms:

• Headache
• Dizziness
• Nausea/vomiting
• Blurred vision
• Confusion
• Sensitivity to light and/or noise
• Irritability
• Moodiness
• Change in sleep pattern
• Doesn’t “feel right”

Symptoms do not always appear immediately and each person reacts differently. For example, within the context of football, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t always have to be a big hit to cause a concussion, and not every big hit results in one.

While helmets can provide important protection, they cannot prevent a concussion. It’s essential that athletes receive baseline testing prior to having a concussion, and—should they experience a concussion—they should see a medical professional trained in concussion management.

To learn more, visit www.stvincent.org/sportsperformance.


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