As students return to school, many also resume sports programs this fall. While most agree that athletics is great exercise and builds teamwork, there is an increase in sports-related concussions in student athletes. The increase in these injuries is not gender-specific.
“Which NCAA sport has the highest concussion rate? If you said ‘football,’ you’d be wrong. The college sport that carries the highest risk of concussion is women’s ice hockey… In every sport played by both girls and boys—basketball, soccer, ice hockey, lacrosse—girls’ risk of concussion is significantly higher than the risk for boys.”*
Mentis Neuro Health recognizes the health concerns across genders and age groups for anyone facing a concussion. What’s more is that individuals who have suffered one concussion are likely to experience more severe, longer lasting symptoms with subsequent concussions and may even develop Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).**
It’s critical that parents, coaches and fellow athletes recognize the signs of concussions (see the infographic in this blog post for details) and seek medical attention when these symptoms persist.
“A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.” –Brain Injury Association of America**
Sports is certainly not the only cause of traumatic brain injuries in adolescents. Other causes may include assault, motor vehicle accidents, aneurysm rupture, stroke, brain tumors and more. Regardless of the cause, individuals with such brain injuries may experience mild or severe symptoms, and symptoms that persist or worsen are reason for attention. For some, concussions may require more care after a patient is released from the hospital to regain full functional and cognitive abilities. As with any illness, medical attention is key.
* Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., Girls on the Edge: The Four Factors Driving the New Crisis for Girls.” (New York: Basic Books, 2010). 168.
** “Concussion and CTE” fact sheet. Brain Injury Facts, Brain Injury Association of America, http://www.biausa.org/concussion/cte-pcs-fact-sheet.pdf. Virginia.