The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each year over 300,000 children (age 19 or younger) are treated in the U.S. for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or concussions while playing sports. Even more troublesome is the fact that between 2001 to 2012, the rate of emergency room visits for sports and recreation-related injuries that ended with a diagnosis of a concussion or TBI more than doubled amongst this same age group.
With April being Youth Sports Safety Month, now is the perfect time to remember the importance of injury prevention and safety for our children as they participate in the activities they love. Whether it’s a high impact sport like football or just a traditional family bike ride on Sunday afternoon, taking the necessary steps to prevent a catastrophic event can truly prevent serious lifelong disabilities or severe injuries.
Your New Orleans personal injury attorneys at Cardone Law Firm would like to remind parents of the important role they play in protecting their children and also offer a few tips to keep your athlete safe in April and the rest of the year.
The Important Role Parents Play
Essentially, parents are the first line of defense against a traumatic brain injury or concussion. Making sure that they are using the proper safety equipment before participating in a physical activity or sport can go a long way in keeping your child safe.
Children who participate in high impact and contact sports will benefit greatly from using the proper gear, which should include mouth guards and helmets. This includes activities like:
- Horseback riding
But these types of sports aren’t the only activities to keep an eye on. Adult supervision is required at pools and other events that involve swimming and diving. Diving into the shallow end of a pool and other forms of horseplay can lead to a serious head injury.
Helmets: Protecting Your Athlete and Their Brain
Trauma to the brain can occur as a result of an impact, sudden stop, or quick turn. From a mild head injury to a skull fracture, a TBI can lead to permanent behavioral and cognitive issues – or even death.
That’s why helmets are absolutely essential for children to wear while participating in certain high impact sports and physical activities. Studies have shown that, for instance, bike riders who wear helmets are at a 52% lower risk of suffering a severe TBI compared to unhelmeted riders and have a 44% lower risk of death.
Generally speaking, a well designed and fitted helmet will:
- Prevent a direct impact to the skull
- Help to spread the force of the impact over a larger area
- Help the head slow down
However, it is important that parents recognize it isn’t just about wearing a helmet, but using the right type of helmet that can make all the difference in an accident. When it comes to choosing and using the right helmet, consider the following:
- Helmets must fit securely on the child for optimal protection. They should not move in any direction while sitting evenly on his or her head.
- The right helmet should be used for each activity. While some helmets can be used for multiple activities, not every single helmet can protect your child effectively.
- Parents need to demonstrate the importance of safety gear by wearing their helmets when participating in sports activities.
- While certain helmets (i.e. football/hockey) are designed to protect against multiple impacts, most are developed to only withstand one moderate impact. Be aware of this, and purchase a new helmet when necessary.
While helmets are an excellent source of protection, they aren’t 100% foolproof. That’s why it is important for child to follow all sports rules when participating in any athletic activities, obey traffic signs and signals when riding a bike, and be mindful of their surroundings when being active.
Helpful Tips for a Concussion Recovery
Should your child suffer a concussion while participating in a sport or physical activity, your role as a parent is absolutely vital in helping them to recover. There are a number of tips that can help with the recovery process such as:
- Monitoring, which is especially important during the first several days following an injury. Parents should watch for – and immediately take their child to a hospital – if any of the following symptoms occur:
- Headaches that worsen
- Irritable behavior
- Weakness in limbs
- Slurred speech
- Parents should educate themselves about the effects of a TBI and how they can help during the recovery process.
- Follow the treatment plan provided to you by the physician. Make sure to also consult with a doctor prior to giving your child medications.
- Cognitive and physical rest are important steps to recovery. Check with your child’s doctor for the best strategy and time frame to return to schools, sports, and other normal activities.
- Inform teachers of your child’s condition so they can be aware of the situation and provide you insight on how your child is doing in school.
- Follow up with all medical appointments, and seek additional testing if symptoms last more than 10 days.
If You or a Loved One Has Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, Contact the Louisiana Personal Injury Lawyers at Cardone Law Firm Today for Your Free Legal Consultation Today.
At the Cardone Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing the best legal representation for all of our clients. For over 40 years, we have been looking out for our clients’ interests and achieving successful outcomes for their cases.