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Kids Should Strap On Safety Helmets When Playing Sports

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2009-01-12 08:18

Snow is falling and friends are calling. ... Whether your child participates in organized winter team sports or recreation activities with friends and family, there is always a danger of concussion. Concussions account for about 46 percent of U.S. winter sport injuries.

"Knowing the warning signs of a concussion and when to seek medical attention are critical," says Holly Gilmer, M.D., chief, pediatric neurosurgery, Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Concussion dangers and risks can be found in indoor and outdoor activities including:

* Skating
* Basketball
* Snowboarding
* Cheerleading
* Hockey
* Wrestling
* Sledding
* Skiing
* Snowmobiling

Common head injury

One of the most common injuries evaluated and treated in children is cerebral concussion. As hockey (or basketball, wrestling, skiing or cheerleading) moms and dads, the risks and implications of concussions in children are concerning.

What is a concussion?

Explains Dr. Gilmer, "A concussion is the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of the brain function after a mild head injury. Traditionally, a concussion was defined as a loss of consciousness following a head injury, with normal X-rays and head CT scans. More recent data suggest that concussion may or may not involve loss of consciousness. It may be caused by a direct blow to the head, or by a direct injury to another area of the body with secondary forces transmitted to the head, such as a 'whiplash' type of injury."

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Symptoms

Other than loss of consciousness, typical symptoms and signs include:

* confusion
* disorientation
* dizziness
* amnesia
* headache
* loss of balance
* nausea/vomiting
* slurred speech
* double vision

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