Not Just a Bump on the Head:
Concussion awareness has dramatically increased over the past few years, resulting in a staggering 4 million concussions reported in 2012, twice the number reported a decade earlier. However, many concussions still go unreported due to a competitive drive to keep playing, lack of awareness of the risks of concussion, or beliefs related to the culture of certain sports. Repeated concussions, even small ones, are associated with evidence of brain damage, disability, and even death.
What we Know:
Minor concussions are often unrecognized by players, coaches, and parents because loss of consciousness—the clearest sign of concussion—only occurs in less than 10% of all concussions. Subtler and more common signs of concussion include: headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion or “brain fog”, fatigue, and irritability. Some athletes come to consider getting “your bell rung” or “seeing stars” just part of some sports. Removal from play immediately after a concussion is critical to reduce the risk of long-term damage. Unfortunately, school-age athletes often feel immense pressure from their competitive teammates, coaches, parents, and even within themselves to continue playing despite “not feeling quite right.”
Our Plan to Help:
Dr. James Noble, of Columbia University, will develop an interactive concussion education program designed to teach elementary school children the signs and symptoms of a concussion at a key time—when they are beginning to participate in competitive sports at risk for concussion. To ensure that any concussion occurring in themselves or their teammates gets addressed quickly, this educational program will teach the children that taking care of a concussion early helps everyone on the team, and gets them back on the field sooner to do what they want most—win! Finally, Dr. Noble’s course will teach the children how to talk to their parents about concussions, which will help alleviate the pressures of performance over reporting concussions by any overly-competitive parents or coaches.