Injured yourself recently?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

football players
A high school survey conducted in May found that 53% of football athletes would continue to play, even if their heads hurt after impact, which could be a sign of a concussion!

One day I was walking back home from class when I passed my school field. There were two teams playing Quidditch, you know, the sport from the popular book-made-movie series, Harry Potter. Since the game uses three different balls and 14 players total, it gets hectic pretty fast! I swear, I didn’t even know where to look until I heard a sickening thump and witnessed two players crash and fall together. One of the Chasers (the equivalent of a forward or striker in soccer) popped back up, no harm done… to him anyway. The other player was sprawled out on the field and knocked unconscious for several minutes until he was whipped away to the hospital.

According to a report from Safe Kids Worldwide, he is only 1 out of 1.35 million kids who visits the emergency room on account of a sports-related injury. Surprisingly doctors aren’t as worried about the actual injury as they are for the time it takes to heal. You see, it’s apparent that many kids who are involved in school sports are expected to make a speedy recovery and run back onto the field as soon as possible, whether pressured by competitive parents or coaches. However, playing again before the injury is completely healed will only make the damage worse. “One of the biggest risk factors of being injured again is incomplete recovery or rehabilitation,” said Michael F. Bergeron, executive director of the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute.

Some athletes may feel okay playing when they should be recovering instead, however, the pain and damage can not only worsen, they might even end up with a whole new round of injuries! For example, say a boy hurts his knee but continues to charge up and down the soccer field. Readjusting the way he runs and lands after a jump can strain other muscles. It might feel okay in the moment and not even hurt for a couple of years, but Bergeron says the real hurt will definitely come when he’s an adult!

Though all injuries are serious, doctors warn that concussions – damage to the brain caused by a sudden blow to the head – should be taken very seriously. Some symptoms include a dazed or out of focus stare, sensitivity to light, really bad headaches, loss of balance, and (this is the scariest one) loss of memory! Even more frightening, is all the evidence supporting the idea that concussions affect long-term brain development in kids!

If you play a sport and have sustained an injury, don’t be in such a rush to get back onto the field or court! Instead, give your body the appropriate amount of time it needs to heal. If you hit your head and feel any of the above symptoms, don’t ignore them. Instead embrace the new recommendation that the American Academy of Neurology offers as a guideline: when in doubt, sit it out!

Featured image courtesy of Thomas Mueller on Flickr. Image of football players courtesy of Penn State on Flickr.