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Youth Sports And Brain Injuries: Some Facts For Parents

The evidence keeps piling up against sport-related brain injuries. While professional athletes have attracted much-needed attention to this issue by filing massive lawsuits against organizations like the NFL, brain injuries can just as easily affect young athletes. Ohio parents need to be aware of the risks of letting a child play some sports.

This post will include some little-known facts about children, sports and traumatic brain injuries.

1. Although the NFL has driven much of the attention on traumatic brain injuries, dangerous concussions can occur just as frequently in other sports - especially soccer, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, and cheerleading.

2. Overall, high school soccer players suffered more concussions in 2010 than many other sports combined. Girls who played high school soccer had more than 25,000 concussions. Experts say that children should never "head" the ball and that leagues should ban heading.

3. Sliding head-first in baseball or softball is also a major source of concussions - even if the player is wearing a batting helmet.

4. No matter the sport, children are more vulnerable to concussions because their brains are not yet fully developed.

5. Nine in 10 concussions do not involve loss of consciousness. Parents should not think that a child did not have a concussion just because he or she was not knocked out.

Every traumatic brain injury is potentially serious. If school or athletic supervisors fail to respond to a concussion and allow a child to keep playing without medical attention, there can be long-term consequences.

Source: The Republic, "Doctor urges common-sense solutions to reduce concussions," Nov. 14, 2012

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