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When Is It Safe To Return To Play After Concussion?

Steve Wagner

Many parents are facing tough choices in today’s sports world, (how many sports to play, whether to play on travel teams, etc.) but the most difficult choice, perhaps, is whether or not to let your child continue to play after they have sustained a head injury.

With the research that has been done in recent years, we are realizing how “traumatic” concussions really are, and that they are in fact, traumatic brain injuries. Before this research came to light, concussions were treated as mild injuries, sometimes requiring kids to sit out for the remainder of a game, but certainly not take time off from a season of play.

WTHR recently shared a story that hits too close to home for many parents; it’s a dilemma of whether or not parents should let their child go back in the game once the doctor has cleared them for play. While this may seem like a “no-brainer” for many, for parents whose child has suffered a traumatic brain injury, the thought of letting that child receive a follow-up injury, or even suffer damage to an existing concussion, is a difficult one. Research is still being done on the long term effects of concussions and how they will affect these children into adulthood.

Children and teenagers sustain approximately 10% of the annual concussions suffered in the United States. According to The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), 140,000 of those concussions are suffered by high school athletes.

The NFHS, in conjunction with the National Academy of Medicine and the National Research Council, recently released a report on new recommendations for handling and treating both suspected and diagnosed concussions.

In a statement from Bob Gardner, the NFHS Executive Director, he stated the NFHS’ support of the research and the efforts to increase awareness and safety surrounding concussions and their dangers. Gardner said, “We support the report’s conclusion that a culture change is a national priority. Concussions are not ‘dings’ – they are serious medical conditions that need to be addressed. I am pleased to report that the NFHS places its highest priority on risk minimization for the 7.7 million participants in high school sports.”

New Indiana legislation is requiring that any suspected injury be treated as one already diagnosed, that the athlete be removed from the game and not allowed to play until given medical clearance.

In order to recognize concussions and the dangers associated with them, we want to assist in making the public aware of the signs and symptoms of these specific traumatic brain injuries, and help you make the right choices that will better ensure a positive outcome for those injured.

If you or your loved one suffer a severe blow to the head, or are involved in an incident which causes a severe “jolt” to the head, it is important to know what signs to watch out for.

Consult medical assistance immediately if the person appears to be:

  • Dazed or stunned
  • Is easily confused or forgets instructions
  • Appears to be clumsy
  • Moves slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Has trouble answering basic questions
  • Shows mood or personality changes
  • Can’t remember events either prior to the incident or after the incident

Call medical assistance if the injured person complains of:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or balance issues
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Sluggish feelings, haziness or grogginess
  • Concentration issues
  • Confusion
  • Feeling “off” or “not right”

The long term effects of concussions have proven to be extremely serious, especially when concussions go untreated, or when repeat injuries aggravate existing ones.The safety of continuing play on an existing injury is unsafe, but it may be years before we have enough information to know the risks of returning to play after a concussion is healed.

Was your child told to return to play before their traumatic brain injury was properly diagnosed or treated? You may be eligible to receive compensation to cover the costs of medical bills incurred as a result of the injury.

Give the traumatic brain injury lawyers at Wagner Reese a call and let us assist you with your case. Your child deserves to be safe, happy and healthy. Let us help you fight for those rights!

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