Just like snow and ice go together so often, so do sports accidents – like concussions – played during the winter months. Think ice hockey, skating, snow skiing and more.
So why not get prepared for concussions on and off the ice and slopes? Here are some symptoms and danger signs to be aware of if you have a child participating in youth sports this winter.
There’s no doubt that these sports are a great way for kids and teens to stay healthy, as well as learn important leadership and team-building skills. But there are risks to pushing the limits of speed, strength, and endurance. And athletes who push the limits sometimes don’t recognize their
own limitations—especially when they’ve had a concussion.
What is a concussion? A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain,” the CDC says.
It’s true that most athletes with a concussion recover quickly and fully, and will suffer typically have symptoms for days or even weeks, however, a more serious concussion can last for months or perhaps longer.
Thanks to the CDC’s “Heads Up” educational campaign it offers resources for high school and youth sports coaches, school professionals, and health care professionals. These initiatives include materials and information to help identify concussions and immediate steps to take when one is suspected.
CDC’s Prevention and Preparation: On and Off the Ice and Ski Slopes
Insist that safety comes first.
No one technique or safety equipment is 100 percent effective in preventing concussion, but there are things you can do to help minimize the risks for concussion and other injuries.
For example, to help prevent injuries the CDC suggests:
Make sure to wear approved and properly-fitted protective equipment. Such equipment should be well-maintained and be worn consistently and correctly.
Enforce no hits to the head or other types of dangerous playing hockey and other sports.
Practice safe playing techniques and encourage athletes to follow the rules of play.
Learn about concussion
Before strapping on your skates, skis or snowboard, learn concussion symptoms and dangers signs, and their potential long-term consequences. Parents and coaches should keep the four-step action plan with them at practices, competitions, or just when having fun with winter sports.