Preventing Sports Concussions in Children

By Susan Black

Crack open an egg and swish the yolk around inside the shell. That’s what a youngster’s brain looks like during a concussion -- a brain injury caused by a bump or a blow to the head.

In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that children ages 5 to 18 suffer 96,000 sports-related concussions annually, often while participating in school-sponsored events.

Trauma occurs during impact, when the head stops but the brain continues to move at high speed. In some hits, the brain slams forward against the skull, rebounds, and slams against the back of the skull. For school-age children, whose brain tissue is still developing, even a slight impact can cause catastrophic injury. Severe concussions can shear nerve fibers and neurons.

Some children die from concussions. Brain injury, the Washington, D.C.-based National SAFE KIDS Campaign says, is the leading cause of sports-related death in children under the age of 14. 

Would you like to continue reading?
Subscribers please click here to continue reading. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to purchase this article or to obtain a subscription to ASBJ.