DENVER -- It's a hard decision for many parents to make.
Keeping your child off the playing field, or letting them play and worrying about the risk of concussion. What's happening on playing fields across the nation is drawing attention in the nation’s capital.
President Barack Obama called for a renewed effort to protect our kids at the first White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit.
The President says, “We’ve got to have better research, better data, better safety equipment, better protocols.” The event featured 14-year-old Victoria Balucci, who developed a concussion while playing soccer.
She says, “Thinking it was a headache, I played the game the very next day, a mistake many athletes make.”
The President and many medical experts say a "suck it up" culture exists in the sports world, and that has to change.
Dr. Thomas Maino of Sports and Family Medicine of Colorado says, “If someone has symptoms of a concussion they need to stop and be evaluated.”
Dr. Maino adds that too many people have misconceptions about concussions and explains, “It’s very common to say you didn't get knocked out so you don't have a concussion, that's not true at all, about 75 percent of concussions don't involve loss of consciousness.”
Head injuries land nearly 250,000 kids in the emergency room each year.
It’s important for parents to know the signs, which include swelling in the area, dizziness and confusion. Dr. Maino says the condition is especially serious if the symptoms quickly get worse and adds, “If they’re vomiting, if they said I can't see and now I really can't see if they're acting goofy and you can't understand them.”
Many parents are understandably concerned, but the president says avoiding sports is not the answer. He says, “Sports teaches us about team work and hard work what is takes to succeed” and medical experts add that wearing protective gear and knowing when to step out of the game is what it takes to stay safe.
Nearly $60 million is already being targeted to concussion research, thanks to the NCAA, Department of Defense and the NFL.
See more information about the concussion symptoms and ways to keep your child safe here.
The UCLA BrainSPORT Program makes use of community funding to provide parents, coaches, and trainers with vital care, education, and research to help them best understand how to prevent concussions. Use this link if you are interested in helping.