C.A.T.A.: Is Football Right for Your Child? Despite Recent Rule Changes Intended to Prevent Concussions, Serious Risks Remain.
The outpouring of concussion concerns within youth football is growing with big names in the lead. Retired NFL quarterback and Super Bowl XXXIV's Most Valuable Player Kurt Warner has labeled the notion of his two school-age sons playing football a "scary thing" and says he'd prefer they didn't.
The paternal fears of Warner are shared by the majority of informed football parents struggling with the decision to allow their children to participate in “America's Game.” Consider:
Football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75% chance for concussion), according to the Sports Concussion Institute.
Football players suffer the most brain injuries of any sport, as reported by The American Journal of Sports Medicine in July 2007.
There are an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States every year, leading The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to conclude that sports concussions in the United States have reached an "epidemic level.”
While these numbers are shocking, football remains America's most popular sport. Because of this, every family must educate themselves about the risks associated with concussions and decide what is best for their children.
According to Michael West, president of the California Athletic Trainers' Association (CATA), parents and coaches should be mindful of the following symptoms if a player is involved in a head to head collision on the field:
Headache and/or a feeling of pressure in the head
Temporary loss of consciousness
Confusion or feeling foggy
Nausea or vomiting
Amnesia about the traumatic event
Dizziness or "seeing stars"
Ringing in the ears
Loss of balance, unsteady walking
If a player displays any of these symptoms he/she should be removed from the game immediately and should abstain from participation in any contact sports until they've been fully evaluated by a certified athletic trainer if one is available. If it is determined that a concussion is likely, the athletic trainer will refer on to the family's physician.
Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the provision of physical medicine and rehabilitation services, serving as physician extenders in the prevention, assessment and treatment of acute and chronic injuries and illnesses.
More than stereotypical ankle tapers, a certified athletic trainer's role goes beyond managing catastrophic injuries. These physical medicine specialists provide prevention, recognition, clinical assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and reconditioning of illnesses and injuries, like concussions, that are sustained during activity. In some cases, their on-site medical services, both preventative and immediate care, can make the difference between life and death.
About the California Athletic Trainers Association (CATA):
The California Athletic Trainers Association (http://www.cata-usa.org) represents and supports 2,200 members of the athletic training profession through communication and education.
In October 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed bill AB 25, which establishes critically-needed return-to-play rules in school-sponsored sports. The bill sponsored by CATA places California among the states with the strongest laws to protect the health and safety of student athletes. Co-sponsored by the National Football League, AB 25 requires a school district to immediately remove an athlete from a school-sponsored athletic activity if he or she is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury.
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California Athletic Trainers Association
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