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Youth Sports Can Be Hotbeds for Brain Injuries Like Concussions

Jason Reese


  • In recent years, researchers have linked athlete concussion and brain injury rates to the prevalence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease found in people who have had multiple head injuries.
  • Most severe CTE is found in former professional players but high school athletes have also been identified as a potential risk group.
  • New findings now say contact sports played by children of school age, such as football, boxing, competitive BMX riding, wrestling, rugby, basketball and baseball, can also affect mood, behavior and cognition from sustained brain injuries that could lead to undiagnosed CTE.
  • Parents and coaches should be working to establish prevention measures for athletes to avoid these head and brain injuries and know how to recognize the warning signs and symptoms associated.

Summer Sports Activities Can Put Young Athletes at Risk for Serious Head Injury

In early 2017, researchers at the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the brains of former NFL players, as well as those of college and high school football athletes, showed evidence of a disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, suggesting it may be related to prior participation in the sport. Scientists concluded that repeated blows to the head increase risks for developing CTE, leading to progressive loss of normal brain matter and an abnormal buildup of protein and troubling symptoms. The study findings also revealed that the most severe disease was found in former professional players and mild CTE disease can be found in former high school players.

Can Athletic Injuries Lead to CTE?

Most commonly reported in association with CTE is concussion and other serious injuries related to hard tackling head blows true to the nature of American football, but more science is being understood of child athletes who participated in boxing, wrestling, rugby, basketball and baseball, and even BMX riding and show these other former athletes may also be at risk. Being able to 1) establish prevention measures to avoid these injuries and 2) recognize the awareness of the warning signs associated with head injuries are good steps towards reversing the disease for future generations. If not addressed, concussions and other serious head injuries can lead to traumatic brain injury issues or even CTE, creating difficulties down the road.

Indiana University provides this list of concussion and head injury symptoms to guide you:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Fuzzy or Blurry vision
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Feeling sluggish, tired, or groggy
  • Feeling unusually irritable
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • More emotional
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering new information

If your child exhibits even one of these symptoms, a concussion or head injury should be suspected, and the student athlete should be removed from any play even practice, the athlete’s parents should be notified, the athlete should not return for a minimum of 24 hours and not before being evaluated by a licensed health care provider who sends written clearance to participate.

Help in Protecting Your Student Athlete from Brain Injury and Future Disease

The traumatic brain injury attorneys at Wagner Reese can assist your child in recovering the compensation deserved, especially if your child’s brain injury could have been prevented, was improperly diagnosed, or ignored by your student’s school or athletic team officials. Help us raise awareness for the seriousness of these injuries and hold coaches, leagues, schools, and doctors accountable for properly treating and caring for our children. Give us a call at (888) 204-8440 today or send us your information and story using our confidential online form.


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