Parents know that protecting their child's head is important from the time that they bring them home from the hospital. Yet when they get old enough to participate in sports, sometimes the competition can take precedent. Unfortunately, new research shows that despite education efforts, concussions aren't always treated correctly at school athletic events.
Concussions can happen in pretty much any sport. Football players are the most well-known after research determined that multiple blows to the head can have severe impacts on players' future health and well-being. The same problems, though, can happen to soccer players, cheerleaders, and anyone else who could have head trauma.
The impact on the brain can start with headaches and include nausea and other issues in the short term, as well as personality changes and other major problems in the long term. To combat the issue, schools have implemented a number of measures to try to try to ensure that kids are safer and treated. But the study showed a number of barriers to the correct treatment.
According to the researchers, who published their findings in the Journal of Adolescent Health, all of the schools studied employed athletic trainers, but many times those professionals had not had time to attend concussion raining. There is also a lack of buy-in from athletes parents and coaches, which can mean that they don't report it when they experience the symptoms of head trauma. Communication is also a challenge for many of the teams and their trainers.
We understand how upsetting it can be for an athlete to sit out a big game, especially if their friends are counting on them. But concussions can be life-changing and having multiple concussions in a short period can cause damage to the brain. The competition might seem like a bigger deal at the moment, but it's not worth it in the long-term. Kids might not be able to understand that, but that is where the coaches, trainers and parents need to step in.
The researchers don't have any solutions at this point, but the first step to solving a problem is defining it, and this study helps to do that. Hopefully soon they can figure it out — for the sake of the athletes.