Sports programs have important benefits for kids—improving fitness and coordination, developing teamwork and people skills. However, many popular sports can put children at risk for traumatic brain injury, typically in the form of concussions. Because children are young with developing brains, they are more prone to concussion damage, and studies show that people who suffer concussions at a young age have an increased risk of suffering a second one later.
Of course, we have all heard about the links between brain injuries and youth football, but there are other sports that put our children at risk.
Youth sports with high concussion rates
The following popular kids' sports tend to have a higher risk for blows to the head and concussions than others. It's important to note that not all of these are full contact sports. If your child does suffer a head injury while playing these sports, keep in mind it might be more serious than it appears.
- Basketball: A semi-contact sport, basketball doesn't involve a hard ball (like baseball or softball), making direct contact with the ball using the head, or full-on tackling opponents. However, the game usually does involve flying elbows and knees, collisions, and players even occasionally knocking their heads together during play.
- Like basketball, soccer players don't wear helmets. Yet, as part of the game, players use their heads to bounce a ball coming at them at a high speed. Repeated blows to the head can cause damage, and soccer is also a contact sport. Kids can collide while running, or hit each other's heads with elbows, knees, and each other's heads.
- Gymnastics isn't a contact sport. In fact, gymnasts don't even encounter their competitors while engaging in their routines. Yet youth gymnastics has a quickly-growing rate of concussions. Why? Whiplash. Whiplash is proof that a person doesn't need to have a direct blow to the head to get a brain injury. During practice and training, gymnasts tend to take a lot of falls, and these falls can jerk the neck and head around, which causes the brain to jostle around in the skull. This can cause a mild to moderate concussion.
The danger of concussion doesn't mean parents should discourage or prevent healthy children from participating in sports. Youth sports can be fun and good for kids, and the benefits outweigh the risks. However, if your child does decide to participate in one of these sports, or another sport at risk for concussion, any head injury should be taken seriously. Don't let your child just “walk it off.” They may be hurt and should be checked for concussion by a professional.
Sports and childhood should be about having fun. The last thing you and your family should have to worry about is your child suffering from a brain injury. The Ohio and Kentucky lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law can help you seek compensation if your child was injured on the field due to someone else's negligence. We want to help. Call us at 877-686-8879 today. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation.