Watch CBSN Live

Head Injuries and Young Athletes

Concussions are a constant risk with school football and soccer in full swing. Jordan Metzl, MD, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and team physician of several football teams, joins the CBS Saturday Early Show with what parents should know about concussions.

A concussion is defined as a jarring injury to the brain and is known as the mild form of traumatic brain injury or TBI. A severe case can result in permanent injury or even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high school sports activities produce about 200,000 concussions per year.

Concussions are among the greatest dangers of high school sports. Significant blows to the head or rough tackles could cause them. It’s not necessary, however, to play sports to get a concussion. The injury could result from a fall in which the head strikes against an object or a moving object strikes the head.

Concussions are not usually the same. There are different grades. Grade 1 is mild and defined with dizziness and no loss of consciousness. Doctors recommend that players at this stage be removed from the game until they’re symptom free.

Grade 2 is defined with loss of consciousness for less than 5 minutes. This type of patient will need to be seen by a pediatrician and needs clearance before returning to sports.

Grade 3 is severe, happening to people who lose consciousness for more than 5 minutes. These type of patients need a neurologist evaluation before returning to the game.

Symptoms of a concussion include headache, memory loss, loss of consciousness for grades 2 and 3, drowsiness, confusion and double vision. These symptoms either occur immediately after the injury, while others such as headache or amnesia may take place down the line.

If someone has a concussion, the grade of his or her injury should be measured. If the person is injured at grades 2 and 3, their breathing should be checked and they should be taken to the hospital. If they’re wearing a helmet, their headgear should not be removed.

Young athletes returning to play after suffering concussions should only do so when they are symptom free. The severity of their injury should also be taken into consideration. For grade 1 concussions, a child may be symptom-free sitting on the sidelines and won't be symptomatic until they get up. So the child would need to be symptom-free with exertion. For grades 2 and 3, the child should be checked out before returning to sports.

People who’ve had a concussion are more likely to have another. They also put themselves at risk for Second Impact Syndrome, which is fatal in more than 50% of cases. This happens when the athlete gets a second head injury before the injuries associated with the first one are cleared.

Parents who are concerned about preventing concussions with kids need to educate themselves about the subject, recognize the potential for injury and he symptoms, and make sure that their children wear fitting helmets

©MMII CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue