Wednesday, June 25, 2014

World Cup games - highlighting the dangers of concussions?

Is the "beautiful game" causing too many concussions among its athletes, particularly the younger ones? If you're watching the World Cup, you would see how it's possible. Between heading the ball (hitting the ball with your head while it's in the air) and the players smacking heads against each other as they vie to head the ball, sometimes it's a wonder that more injuries don't happen. Head injuries can also occur if a player's head hits the ground or, less frequently, the goal post.

Obviously, head injuries are a concern. While heading the ball can be done safely if the players use the proper technique, not all who play are taught this. The CBC network ran a news piece about soccer concussions yesterday: Concussions in soccer: Neurologists raise red flag over heading hazards. The researchers say that a one-time header isn't likely to cause an obvious concussion, but there are worries about the frequency of the hits to the head.

Now, today, Canadian concussion experts have launched guidelines for concussion care in children. These guidelines are essential because of the increased risk that children have in sustaining a concussion over adults.

If your child plays soccer, it's important that you know if the coach is qualified to teach proper heading and if he or she is doing so. If not, your child should not be heading the ball. Incorrect heading can result in consequences not even noticed until several years later.

If you or someone you know has experienced a blow to the head, watch for the following symptoms. If any occur, a doctor's visit is advised:

· Headaches, nausea, or sleepiness that won't go away or get worse
· Changes in behavior, such as irritability or confusion
· Dilated pupils (pupils that are bigger than normal) or pupils of different sizes
· Trouble walking or speaking
· Vomiting
· Seizures
· Weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
· Bloody or clear fluids draining from ears or nose

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