|Wednesday, July 28th, 2010||| CWK Producer|
“This phenomenon is where you get rapid brain swelling and death; it's 80 percent mortality. It's thought to be caused by having a second head injury prior to recovery from the first.”
– Dr. David Wright, M.D., emergency medicine, Emory University
More than 3 million high school athletes will suffer from a sports-related injury this year. Among the most dangerous are concussions. Many times concussions are difficult to detect and unfortunately, athletes are often put back in the game too soon.
"My head's pounding and ringing. I kind of fell to my knees and looked up and guys were saying 'you better go tell the trainer,'" says Cameron, 16.
Cameron got hit in the head during a game. After that, for a couple of days, he had a mild headache, and then...
"My headache had intensified and I could barely walk," says Cameron.
Cameron had a concussion. According to new research, it turns out they are far more common than previously thought.
"This particular study that was quoted in the American Journal of Sports Medicine estimated a concussion rate of around 10 to12 percent, which is higher than what we've previously seen in other studies, [which was] around six to seven percent," says Dr. Thomas Byars, M.D., Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Experts say that concussions can be especially risky if an athlete is injured again before the first injury has healed. It's called second impact syndrome.
"This phenomenon is where you get rapid brain swelling and death; it's 80% mortality. It's thought to be caused by having a second head injury prior to recovery from the first," says Dr. David Wright, M.D., emergency medicine, Emory University.
Doctors say that parents and coaches need to know the symptoms of a concussion: headache, dizziness, blurred vision, and irritability. Coaches should also know that some kids will ignore those symptoms because they've been taught to play through the pain.
"Especially high school boys ... who are really excited about their game, want to get back in and want to play with their teammates," says Byars.
"I mean I knew playing football there's going be a risk, but I didn't really think too much of it," says Cameron.
Detecting a concussion can be difficult because usually no visible injuries are present. Therefore, it is extremely important for parents to familiarize themselves with the symptoms associated with a serious head injury. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) suggests looking for the following signs if you suspect a concussion in your child:
Children can have the same symptoms of brain injury as adults. However, it is more difficult for young children to let others know how they are feeling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that parents be aware of these additional warning signs of a concussion in a young child:
If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately. Early diagnosis can help prevent serious side effects from occurring. The AAFP says that your child's doctor will likely perform the following tasks during the diagnosis:
Once your child is diagnosed with a concussion, the best treatment is rest. The CDC says that you can help your child's healing process by following these guidelines:
Remember that if your child has suffered from a concussion once, he or she is more likely to suffer again. Therefore, prevention is extremely important. The Mayo Clinic provides the following rules to teach your child so that he or she can help prevent further injury: