ER Visits For Concussions Soar Among Kid Athletes - Personal Injury Legal Blogs Posted by Anthony Gary Bell, Jr. - Lawyers.com

ER Visits For Concussions Soar Among Kid Athletes

As CBS News Reported:

CHICAGO (AP) – Emergency room visits for school-age athletes with
concussions has skyrocketed in recent years, suggesting the intensity of
kids’ sports has increased along with awareness of head injuries.

The
findings in a study of national data don’t necessarily mean that
concussions are on the rise. However, many children aren’t taken for
medical treatment, so the numbers are likely only a snapshot of a much
bigger problem, doctors say.

"It definitely is a disturbing trend," said lead author Dr. Lisa Bakhos, an ER physician in Neptune, N.J.

The
study examined concussions in organized youth sports involving ages 8
to 19. ER visits for 14- to 19-year-olds more than tripled, from about
7,000 in 1997 to nearly 22,000 in 2007. Among ages 8 to 13, visits
doubled, from 3,800 to almost 8,000.

While awareness has
increased, many parents, coaches and players still don’t understand how
serious concussions can be, Bakhos said. Many often seem less concerned
with the injury than with how soon kids can return to sports.

"They
want to know if they can play tomorrow, and you’re just like, ‘No!’"
she said. "It’s not just as simple as get up, shake it off and you’ll be
fine.

"If they’re not treated properly, with rest, then they can
have long-term problems," Bakhos said. Those include learning
difficulties, memory problems and chronic headaches.

The study
appears in Pediatrics, published online Monday, along with a report
about sports-related concussions from the American Academy of
Pediatrics’ sports medicine council.

A concussion means the brain
has been jostled. Symptoms aren’t always obvious. There usually is no
loss of consciousness. And a concussion doesn’t show up on an imaging
scan unless there is bruising or bleeding.

Symptoms can include
headache, nausea, dizziness and trouble concentrating, and may last
about a week. Sometimes it can take months to recover.

Potential
concussions should not be "toughed out," say the authors of the
Pediatrics report. Affected athletes should always be examined by a
doctor or someone else with medical expertise.

Treatment is
mainly rest – both physically and mentally, avoiding activities that
require concentration and focus. That may mean reducing schoolwork or
staying home. Video games, computer use and TV can worsen symptoms and
should be avoided, the academy report says. Some doctors advise against
aspirin and similar painkillers right after a head injury because they
might raise the risk for brain bleeding.

Above all, anyone with a
concussion should not return to sports or other physical exertion until
their symptoms have disappeared.

"If you go back in too early,
that can be devastating," said Dr. Kevin Walter, co-author of the report
and a concussions specialist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in
Milwaukee. Resuming sports too soon risks another concussion that could
be deadly or cause permanent brain damage, he said.

A concussion
should not be dismissed as "not a big deal," Walter said. "In my mind,
how the hell can a brain injury not be big deal?" he said.

Sports-related
concussions have made recent headlines because of research about brain
damage, depression and memory problems including Alzheimer’s disease in
retired NFL players who had repeat concussions.

Researchers
believe young athletes may be more vulnerable than adults to lasting
damage from these head injuries because their brains are still
developing. Several states have adopted or are considering tougher
limits on when athletes can resume play after a concussion, as have some
schools, amateur leagues and the NFL.

Dr. Michael Koester,
chairman of a sports medicine committee at the National Federation of
State High School Associations, said young athletes increasingly are
playing and practicing year-round to stay competitive, a trend that
increases chances for injury.

Evan Nolte, 16, a top high school basketball player in Atlanta, says the injuries "are more serious than people think."

Evan
hit his head hard on the floor during a tournament earlier this year
when he dived for a ball and another player landed on top of him. He
didn’t think he had a concussion, and only sat out several minutes
before returning to the game.

A few days later, he was elbowed in
the head in another game. Evan sat out the rest of the game, feeling
disoriented. His doctor diagnosed a concussion the next day and told him
to avoid sports for a few weeks. When Evan had trouble focusing in
class, and complained that his head was spinning, his parents took him
to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s concussion clinic.

The
clinic is among an increasing number of centers nationwide that use
computerized or written tests to measure mental function after
concussions. Evan’s results showed some deficits. His scores improved
after several days, but it took him about a month to feel 100 percent.

Now
he’s back to training. At 6-feet-7, Evan plays competitively 10 months
of the year and plans to play in college. Coaches from top schools have
already shown interest.

If you or a loved one has been injured, call the law firm of Bell & Pollock, P.C., 303-795-5900 www.bellpollock.com  Denver Injury Attorneys, Champions of the People

ER Visits For Concussions Soar Among Kid Athletes

If you or a loved one has been injured, call the law firm of Bell & Pollock, P.C., 303-795-5900 www.bellpollock.com  Denver Injury Attorneys, Champions of the People

View Attorney Profile

Anthony Gary Bell, Jr.

Licensed since 1975

Member at firm Bell & Pollock, P.C.

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