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Protecting the Head

By USAHockey.com, 10/06/14, 12:30PM MDT

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Youth sports might not seem as dangerous as professional sports, but there are physical risks none the less. Safety precautions should be taken in every sport, and at Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ we encourage coaches and parents to educate themselves on where to find information on preventing and identifying head injuries, especially concussions.

Here's some valuable information to help protect young players:

According to the Children’s National Health Systems' Safe Concussion Outcome Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program, a concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury, is "a disruption in the function of the brain as a result of a forceful blow to the head, either direct or indirect."

Protecting the head with proper equipment to reduce the risk of serious head injury and prevent concussions is vital, but not always enough. Coaches and parents must be properly informed as to the signs of a concussion in order to act quickly and responsibly, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Signs and symptoms a child with a possible concussion might show include:

  • Looking dazed or confused
  • Repeating questions
  • Behaving unusually
  • Being unable to remember post-injury events

Additionally, a young athlete may admit to these symptoms:

  • Feeling slower
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Problems with balance
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy or groggy

Emotional changes might also be evident:

  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Over-emoting
  • Nervousness

Some of these signs and symptoms of concussions could show up right after an injury, or take a few days. If you notice any of these warning signs in your child, or if your athlete tells you about them, give him or her a break from the sport and seek medical attention right away. After assessing your child, a doctor  will be able to tell you if any other activities should be limited, and for how long.

Remember, every concussion is serious, so early recognition and appropriate response is important in reducing the risk of additional injury. Coaches and parents who arm themselves with the tools and knowledge to protect young players will keep more heads in the game.

For other Sports Safety articles we encourage you to visit our articles on PlayPositive.com.  We also have pointers for Parents and Coaches to help make sure everyone is properly prepared. 

At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we constantly look for ways to celebrate the countless acts of sportsmanship and integrity shown by people every day. We created Play Positive™, powered by Positive Coaching Alliance, as part of this belief to help ensure that our kids experience the best that sports have to offer in environments that promote and display good sportsmanship. We believe kids can learn valuable life lessons when coaches and parents come together to support winning on and off the ice.

In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Insurance Play Positive™ program powered by Positive Coaching Alliance.

©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance and Positive Coaching Alliance. All rights reserved. This material may not be distributed without express written permission. Any reproduction in whole or part by and individuals or organizations will be held liable for copyright infringement to the full extent of the law.

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