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Children Should Always Wear Helmets When Playing Sports To Prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries

Posted on Apr 29, 2013

A new study shows that children who sustain sports-related concussions may have emotional and behavioral functioning problems in the months that follow the injury.*

Dr. Ivet Hartonian from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) presented her study at the 65th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology last month.

Dr. Hartonian stated that because children's brains are still developing, a traumatic brain injury will prevent the children from reaching their destined cognitive abilities.

According to Dr. Hartonian, approximately 1.6 to 3.2 million sports-related concussions occur in the United States each year, and about half of these concussions are suffered by children and adolescents.  However, there is limited research data on children.  Most of the current literature and studies on sports-related concussions involve professional or collegiate athletes. 

The Effects Of Sports-Related Concussions On Young Children

Dr. Hartonian's study analyzed 17 children (12 boys and 5 girls), aged 11 to 16 years, who experienced sports-related concussions.

The study found a significant increase of the following symptoms after the children sustained concussions:

  • headaches,
  • abdominal pain,
  • dizziness, and
  • withdrawal or depression.

Though the study was too small to allow for any definite conclusions, it does show that children's brains are affected after sustaining concussions.  Therefore, parents need to carefully observe their child over the weeks and months following a concussion. 

In addition, researchers extrapolated some of their findings from research on high school athletes.  High school athletes tend to take longer for improvement in symptoms and neurocognitive performance after a concussion as opposed to adult athletes.  Therefore, children might also show the same trend to recover. 

Protecting Children From Concussions While Playing Sports

There is limited data on the effects of concussions on children, and more research needs to be done.

Children should always wear helmets when playing sports or participating in recreational activities where there is a possibility of a head injury.

Help After Sustaining Concussions Or Traumatic Brain Injuries

Unfortunately, children may still sustain concussions and brain injuries if someone was negligent, i.e., coach, school or manufacturer of helmets. 

For example, if the coach was not properly trained to recognize the signs of a concussion in a child and allowed the child to continue playing a sport after a head impact, a second impact to the child's head could lead to a permanent traumatic brain injury. 

Another scenario is if the child wore a defective or recalled helmet that did not properly protect the child's head.

In these unfortunate situations, your child may have legal rights.  Talking to a lawyer who has experience helping traumatic brain injury victims can help you make the best choices for your child. 

Dan O'Brien, Esq., an active triathlete and cyclist, has helped many individuals who were injured while playing a sport.  Feel free to contact him @ 877.944.8396 to discuss your child's accident.

Related Sports Accident Articles

*Source: Medscape News

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