Combatting Concussions in Youth Sports

What is a concussion?

If you’ve played sports or watch sporting events, then you know that concussions are a serious issue. Medically speaking, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (or TBI) caused by a bump, whack or hit to the body or head that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause changes to the brain and sometimes result in stretching and damaging of the brain cells.

There are different levels of concussion intensities that you should be aware of. If someone suffers a blow to the head, does not lose consciousness, and amnesia (if present) lasts for less than 30 minutes, that’s considered a Grade I concussion. Urgent care centers like Patient Plus can treat Grade I concussions, but if the concussion is a Grade II or Grade III, you should visit the emergency room immediately. (Learn more about the different types of concussions on our blog post.)

Symptoms

Concussions can’t be detected on X-rays or other scans. Instead, doctors rely on assessing symptoms — which is why it’s important for you to know the symptoms, too.

If your child expresses one or more of the following, he or she may have a concussion:

  • Headache or “pressure” in the head area
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy or groggy
  • Memory or concentration issues

Reducing the Risk

Youth coaches should train young athletes on how to prevent head injuries and stay safe during sporting events, but it’s still important to educate yourself as a parent in case an accident occurs at home.

One thing your child can do to reduce the risk of injury is practice muscle strengthening exercises. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, athletes with stronger neck muscles may be able to control the whiplash-like movement and be more likely to pick their heads up quickly after an impact has occurred, reducing the likelihood of a concussion. Consider speaking to an athletic trainer for proper neck strengthening exercise techniques.

All sports, including sports like cheerleading and gymnastics that aren’t typically recognized as concussion-prone by the NATA, should be considered at risk for injury.


Patient Plus Urgent Care – Get in, Get better.

When you’re sick or injured, whether routine or urgent, quality medical care should be easy to find and available when you need it. That’s the idea behind Patient Plus Urgent Care, with convenient locations in Mid City and Bocage.

Patient Plus treats most common illnesses and injuries  the sniffles, rashes, fevers, aches, breaks and other conditions that deserve prompt treatment, but aren’t serious enough to require a trip to the nearest emergency room. The clinics provide complete diagnostic services, including X-rays, EKGs and flu and strep tests. Other services include physicals, vaccinations and more. Patient Plus clinics are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and patients never need to call first or make an appointment.