Concussions, which the Mayo Clinic defines as being “a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions,” don’t just happen to professional athletes; they are particularly common among children and youth.
According to Niagara Region statistics, in Niagara, most emergency room visits for concussions are in 10-19 year olds. The statistics seem to suggest that children and youth who participate in sports are particularly at risk of concussions: more than 50 per cent of brain injuries in youth are caused by participation in sports; young athletes who have ever had a concussion are at increased risk for another concussion; children and youth are six times more likely to experience a concussion in organized sports than other leisure physical activities.
As of the beginning of this year, school boards across Ontario are now required to educate parents, students, teachers and coaches about concussions and policies to manage them. Awareness of what is a concussion and the short- and long-term impacts is rising, but parents, coaches, teachers and others still have many questions.
Joining up to shed light on concussions – particularly among child athletes – and how to deal with them are Dr. Dawn Good, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and director of the Centre for Neuroscience at Brock University and Dr. Kathy Swayze, family physician with the Garden City Family Health Team Physicians and director of residency affairs at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University.
This year’s Consider This podcast series is produced in partnership with Niagara Connects, a Niagara-wide network of people for collaboration, planning, learning, innovation and community action.