Concussions in Sports – What You Need to Know

August 11, 2014 / Mike Siegel MD

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Concussions are nothing new in sports, but you have probably been hearing a lot more about them lately. The NCAA recently reached a settlement with former collegiate athletes who suffered concussions while participating in NCAA sports. Many famous athletes have shared their stories about the long-term effect concussions have had on their lives. Just last week, former NFL player Anthony Davis, spoke to a group of fans and members of the Long Beach community at College Medical Center to raise awareness about the issue

Concussions, also known as traumatic brain injury, can have mild or very serious effects including changes to one’s thinking, sensation, language and emotion. Sports-related concussions are a common occurrence – especially among youth. According to the CDC, emergency rooms in the United States treat over 170,000 concussions every year among people under the age of 19. Moreover, people who suffer from multiple concussions – even if they are mild – are at a higher risk for conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s later in life.

Now that the risks of concussions are so widely recognized, it makes sense that parents are questioning whether contact sports like football are a good idea for their children. While sports are a great way for kids to get exercise, learn about sportsmanship and make friends, concussions have given many parents pause about encouraging their kids to participate.

There are no easy answers, but it is important to know how to recognize the symptoms of a concussion – such as confusion, memory loss or lack of normal motor skills – and then take appropriate action. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or others, it is very important to stop play and be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.