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Massachusetts parents should be aware of concussion dangers

Recent developments examining the link between playing in the National Football League and previously undiagnosed brain damage resulting from concussions have uncovered an important area of concern for parents of child and teenage athletes.

Research suggests that no matter how hard the actual impact was, a child or teen could begin feeling symptoms of a brain injury long after the accident occurred. For this reason, Massachusetts parents of children and teenagers involved in any sport should have an understanding of what a brain injury may result from. Parents should also know what possible symptoms to look for and what type of protective gear and equipment should always be worn during play.

Because of the competitive nature of organized sports, many children are often silent about suspected concussions or other injuries. They may have been taught from fellow players or coaches that this is a normal part of the game. Even when suffering from repeated injuries to the same areas of the head, the child or teen could easily attempt to dismiss any pain felt for fear of some type of social rejection. A coach should never tell a child to "toughen up." That is negligent.

As many as 3.8 million sports-related concussions are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. This already large number does not take into account the injuries that continue to go undiagnosed. Some of the most common brain injury symptoms include: headaches, memory loss, nausea, confusion, drowsiness and an altered state of consciousness.

Before playing a sport, teenage athletes and their parents should be made aware of the associated physical risks during play and how to best prevent them.

Massachusetts parents should take immediate action if their child has suffered from any type of injury that may lead to further brain damage. Accidents and injuries may not be prevented, but when unfortunate circumstances occur, parents and injured children and teenagers don't have to go through the process alone.

Source: NBC4i, "How Can You Protect Your Athlete From A Concussion?" Denise Yost, July 5, 2012

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