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COVID-19 has given “normal” a different look for youth sports this fall. However, one thing that must not change is the diligent attention to concussions in athletics.
First and foremost, parents must not let COVID-19 fears keep them from consulting a doctor if they suspect their athlete has had a head injury.
In many areas, telehealth appointments are available with doctors from home via phone or computer. However, more advanced and urgent cases must be seen in-person; and should be discussed with a physician to determine which appointment type is best for your child.
Another drawback is that athletes may hesitate to say anything about symptoms they are feeling if they are already worried about shortened seasons due to COVID-19. Therefore, it’s more important than ever for parents and coaches to keep a sharp eye out for signs if a child sustains a head injury. 10% or less of athletes who get concussions will lose consciousness, which means the majority do not and may experience other symptoms. These symptoms usually occur quickly after the injury, though in some cases can be delayed:
- sensitivity to lights and sounds
- trouble sleeping
- sleeping too much
- more irritable or emotional than usual
Parents and coaches must be sure that athletes are seen quickly following a potential head injury. Medical professionals should screen and examine the patient for a more severe injury, such as a bleed in the brain, that would require more testing, observation, and occasionally surgical intervention.
The most important step when an athlete gets a concussion is identifying it. According to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, “Research shows that we fail to identify the majority of concussions, and failing to identify injuries increases the risk of negative health outcomes including additional injury, post-concussion syndrome, and second impact syndrome. Proper remove-from-play training and policies, which include objective sideline testing, can help keep athletes safer.”
This year, let’s work on keeping athletes safe from COVID-19 AND concussions.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.