Springtime offers athletes of all ages with warm temperatures and pleasant weather perfect for being outdoors and playing sports like soccer, baseball and lacrosse. Although it may seem like brain injuries are more of a concern for those who play contact sports such as football and ice hockey, sports-related head injuries can occur in other types of athletics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall, the activities associated with the greatest number of TBI-related emergency department visits included bicycling, football, playground activities, basketball and soccer. Every year, approximately 60,000 high school athletes sustain sports-related concussions.
Before you or the athlete in your life step on the field this spring, consider these prevention tips.
- Talk to the coach, league and/or school about their concussion policies and find out about their commitment to safety and when an athlete is permitted to return to play if he or she does sustain a concussion.
- Always wear the approved and properly fitted safety gear for the respective sport – that may mean a helmet and mouth guard or safety pads and face mask.
- Stay vigilant – whether you are on the field or in the batting cages, make sure to watch for any flying balls or other players who might unexpectedly run into you or other athletes to prevent injury.
- Educate yourself on concussion through a program or video. To help address and prevent sports concussions in young people, BIA-MA has produced an award-winning video for parents, coaches and student athletes. Play Smart: Understanding Sports Concussion includes two 12-minute segments. One segment is specifically designed for coaches and parents while the other segment caters to student athletes. The videos include facts about sports concussions, personal testimonies of student and professional athletes and expert advice. Click here to order Play Smart and here to find out more information.
- Always practice good sportsmanship and follow the rules of the game.
For more information about The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) or to find out more on brain injury prevention, call (800)242-0030 or visit www.biama.org.