Unfortunately, concussions in youth sports, especially full contact sports like football and hockey, are not an uncommon occurrence. A concussion can be caused by a direct blow to the head or even from a blow to the body that causes the head to unexpectedly snap back. Contrary to what some may believe, a player doesn’t have to be completely knocked out in order to suffer from a concussion. In fact, most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness. And it doesn’t take major hit to do damage either; even a relatively “small” collision with another player can result in a concussion.
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms a youth athlete might have after suffering a concussion:
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Moves clumsily
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy
- Loses consciousness (even briefly) or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
Keep in mind that some athletes might not feel or report the side effects of a concussion until well after the game. When it doubt, take the player out of the game. If a youth athlete is suffering from a concussion the last thing you want is them taking another blow to the head.
Here are some really interesting statistics about concussions among youth athletes:
- Among 15 to 24 year-olds, sports are second leading cause of concussions (car crashes is #1).
- An estimated 300,000 sports-related concussions occur annually in the United States alone
- Football has the highest concussion rate of any youth sport.
- Girls’ soccer has the highest concussion rate among girls’ sports and the second-highest rate of concussions in gender-neutral sports.
- Studies have found that girls have a significantly higher risk of suffering from a concussion compared with boys in the same sport.
The CDC has put out a bunch of great fact sheets and resources for coaches, parents and youth athletes about concussions. Click here for more information.