There are over a billion sport sites…and then there’s it’s “All About You”

Paid Advertisement

Share This

Mental Moment - Concussions

10/12/2012 8:48:19 AM

Kids2 Pro Sports Article Picture
Adjust Font Size:

Written by on October 11, 2012

 It didn’t seem that youth sports used to be so complicated or at least there weren’t so many children experiencing concussions. I work with kids and work with interns who work with kids and concussion are serious business.

Positives of youth playing sports

There are many! They include kids getting some pretty serious exercise, hanging out with old friends and making new ones, and unplugging from technology. The positives also include learning new skills, acquiring social skills, sportsmanship, teamwork, increasing confidence and self esteem for sport and life and the list goes on. Sports can help prepare kids for the rest of their life.

Preventing Sports Concussions Among Children

In Robert Cantu’s article he suggests that: the millions of kids playing football, for example, would be playing touch football instead of tackle. Many would be learning the fundamentals of tackling and other football skills but they would not be playing tackle football until they turned 14.

The reason is simple. Tackle football is too dangerous for youngsters. Exposure to head trauma is too risky. What we know about football and the vulnerabilities of children’s brains leads me to this conclusion. More worrisome is what we don’t know. How will the hits absorbed by a 9-year-old today be felt at 30, or 50?

He goes onto say that in light of what we now know about concussions and the brains of children many sports should be fine-tuned. But many parents and coaches are satisfied with the rules as they are. They like seeing youngsters in helmets and pads, and watching them slide headfirst into second base. The closer the peewee games resemble those of the professionals, the happier we are. It’s natural for a parent or a coach. Even a neurosurgeon.

But children are not adults. Their bodies are still maturing. Their vulnerabilities to head trauma are far greater.

A child’s brain and head are disproportionately large for the rest of the body, especially through the first five to eight years of life. And a child’s weak neck cannot brace for a hit the way an adult’s can. (Think of a bobblehead doll.) A child’s cranium at 4 is about 90 percent the size an adult’s. That’s important to a discussion of concussions and concussion risk.

Two main priorities

The first priority is protecting kids. Kids will continue to do the sports they have fun doing but they don’t understand the repercussions of getting a concussion. As a parent and coach it’s your job to protect them. If healthcare professionals are saying it’s unsafe for children to play contact sports until after the age of 14 why aren’t you listening. A concussion can be a lifelong problem. Not only can it preclude kids from playing sports but it can preclude them from almost everything. Aside from the physical effects there are so many psychological effects with this. If you were to take the positive effects of sports I listed above and flip them to the opposite extreme you’d have some (not all) of the negative psychological effects from concussion(s). These don’t include being separated from the sport, coach and team or dealing with an injury and the injury recovery process.

The second priority is continuing to educate parents and coaches. From age 0-14 activity and sports should be fun and social. Clearly kids are growing up far too fast but to want your 10 year old’s football team to ‘resemble those of the professionals’ seem ridiculous to me. The more that parents and coaches can teach kids how to explore different sports, teach kids that everyone gets to play, teach balance, skill, moderation, positive thoughts around winning and losing, etc. (the list goes on), the more a child will be better prepared for all that happens after the age of 14. Children should be playing sports but why push them to play beyond where they are ready to play (or should be playing) particularly when there are so many other things you could be teaching them? This sounds like it has more to do with the parents and coaches than it does the kids.

Happy end of the week!

Dr. Michelle 

Article Tags:

Share This

Comment On This Article

Written By: df8bf5dc-0e01-4c21-9ded-f5e917e5f5bb
Date: 10/23/2012 4:42:23 PM
Good article, Dr. Michelle. I hope that it starts to sink in. Prevention, education and diagnosis is important. If you have a concussion, however, treatment options are important, too. Rest, rest and

Kids2ProSports is a proud member and supporter of….

National Council of Youth Sports
National Council Youth Sports
The who's who in the youth sports industry. Its membership represents more than 200 organizations/corporations serving 60,000,000 boys and girls registered in organized youth sports programs.