These Injuries Are On The Rise And Ignoring Symptoms Can Lead To Tragedy

Many parents are busy during the week participating in their kids’ sporting events (and, of course, chauffeuring them back and forth!).

But sports injuries in kids are on the rise, and they can lead to health issues down the road.

One injury, in particular, is garnering more attention recently as medical guidelines are being updated.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its recommendations for treatment of concussions in children and teens.

Between 1.1 and 1.9 million kids and teens suffer concussions each year, according to pediatricians, and this is the first update from the Academy on concussion-related treatments in over eight years.

Originally, recommendations included a complete refrain from physical activity during recovery, as well as totally avoiding electronic devices.

While all parents are concerned about their kids having too much screen time for a variety of reasons, the Academy made some startling discoveries.  The report states, in part:

“We’ve learned that keeping kids in dark rooms and eliminating all cognitive and physical activity actually worsened a lot of kids’ symptoms rather than improving them,” said Mark Halstead, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics and of orthopedic surgery and lead author of the AAP report offering updated recommendations on sports-related concussions in children and adolescents.

Pediatricians originally made their recommendations based on the idea that the brain needed time to heal without additional stimulation or stress caused by activity or too much light or sound.

But they now note that kids may feel this is a punishment of sorts that may have some psychological downside in healing.

“Shutting down an active child entirely doesn’t make them feel good and, frankly, can make them feel like they are being punished for getting hurt,” said Halstead, according to Science Daily.

Keeping kids at home in bed and taking too long a break from their routine can also cause anxiety and feelings of isolation.

Missing school, sports, and spending time with friends seems to actually add to the length of recovery time.

The Academy still recommends that kids and teens stop playing sports temporarily as they recover and until they are cleared by their pediatrician, but they also recommend that light activity is beneficial.

Kids can be spared feelings of isolation by going to practice and participating in a less active role, and though a heavy workload at school is not recommended immediately following a suspected concussion, doctors believe there is no need for an extended absence from the classroom.

Doctors warn that no two concussions are alike.  Just as all children are unique, severity of concussions, length of recovery time, and treatment can vary from child to child.

That said, almost all kids will be restricted in some way for the first month following a concussion, depending on the severity of the injury.

Most of this time is used to prevent another injury from occurring before a full range of symptoms can develop.

In fact, half of “secondary injuries,” meaning back-to-back concussions, result in the death of a student-athlete, according to Brandon Gaille.

Giving each child a few weeks to heal before returning to their full schedule almost always prevents this tragedy from occurring.

Brandon Gaille also shares some startling statistics that parents should be aware of if their kids or teens are active in sports.

Obviously, soccer and football lead in the sports that cause the most concussions.  But not so obvious is that girls are more likely than boys to be seriously injured while participating in sports.

Sports injuries in kids and teens have significantly increased since the 1990s, with over 8,000 kids being seen in the ER daily for sports-related injuries.

As injuries are on the rise and professional athletes have come forward to warn parents about the lifetime effects of repeated injuries from playing sports, awareness is increasing.

Because of this, parents are more likely to seek medical treatment for their kids after taking a rough hit or being otherwise injured while playing sports.

The importance of recognizing symptoms and seeking proper treatment is increasing the rate of reported injuries – which is a good thing.

If your child is active in sports and is seriously hit, especially in the head or neck, it is always a good idea to get them checked out, even if they brush it off or don’t complain about symptoms.

Some kids are reluctant to tell their parents about symptoms or an injury that occurred for fear of being taken out of the game, so we must stay vigilant and be aware of any differences in their energy levels or mood following a game.

The best advice is, “better safe than sorry.”

We must encourage our kids to tell us if they are hurt and make them aware of the dangers of ignoring symptoms.

Rest and cutting back may be mandatory for a short while, but for the most part, they don’t need to be kept in a dark room away from their normal activities like going to school or seeing friends.

Stay safe out there and enjoy all the excitement of your child’s favorite sport!

Has your child ever been diagnosed with a concussion after a sports-related injury?  Leave us your comments.

 

 

 

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