Brain Injury Can be Prevented!!
Many of the brain injuries that occur annually in this country can be prevented. A brain injury is an insult to the brain caused by an external force, which may impair cognitive, physical, behavioral, and emotional functions.
Brain injury rehabilitation is a long process that is measured in years rather than months. Many persons with severe brain injuries face a wide range of lifelong problems. These problems, in turn, can dramatically affect an individual's ability to live independently, care for a family, and work.
The true extent of brain injury is not conveyed by numbers. Lives, hopes, dreams, families, and friendships are often altered in the wake of a brain injury. Research, rehabilitation, public awareness, and prevention can help to lessen the occurrence of brain injuries in our society.
How Can I Recognize a Possible Concussion? (CDC, 2010)
To help recognize a concussion, you should watch for the following two things among your athletes:
1) A forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head, and 2) any change in the athlete’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning.
Athletes who experience any of the signs and symptoms listed above after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body should be kept out of play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.
What Can I Do to Prevent Concussions?
As a coach or parent, you play a key role in preventing concussions and responding properly when they occur. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent concussions and ensure the best outcome for your athletes, the team, league or school. (Get more information at http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/prevention.html).
Encourage Your Child’s Coach to Take Free Concussion Training!
Click on http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html
Check with your league, school, or district about concussion policies. Concussion policy statements can be developed to include a commitment to safety, a brief description about concussion, and information on when athletes can safely return to play (i.e. an athlete should be kept out of play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says he/she is symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play). Parents and athletes should sign the concussion policy statement at the beginning of each sports season.
Involve and get support from other parents and/or league or school officials to help ensure that the concussion policy is in place before the first practice.
Create a concussion action plan. To ensure that concussions are identified early and managed correctly, have an action plan in place before the season starts. This plan can be included in your school or district’s concussion policy.
Educate athletes and other parents or coaches about concussion. Before the first practice, talk to athletes and parents, and other coaches and school officials about the dangers of concussion and potential long-term consequences of concussion. Explain your concerns about concussion and your expectations of safe play. Show the videos and pass out the concussion fact sheets for athletes and for parents at the beginning of the season and again if a concussion occurs. Remind athletes to tell coaching staff right away if they suspect they have a concussion or that a teammate has a concussion.
Monitor the health of your athletes. Make sure to ask if an athlete has ever had a concussion and insist that your athletes are medically evaluated and are in good condition to participate. Some schools and leagues conduct preseason baseline testing (also known as neurocognitive tests) to assess brain function—learning and memory skills, ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly someone can think and solve problems. These tests can be used again during the season if an athlete has a concussion to help identify the effects of the injury. Prior to the first practice, determine whether your school or league would consider conducting baseline testing.
FACT SHEETS & WEB RESOURCES
- Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIAD) “Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” Brochure
- BIAA National Sports Concussion Fact Sheet
- CDC.gov Concussion in Sports Fact Page
LINKS/RESOURCES FROM LOCAL INJURY PREVENTION PROGRAMS
- Concussion: A Force to Be Reckoned With! (Thinkfirst, 2010)
- Local Injury Prevention Programs based at Nemours
- RiskWatch Delaware
NEWS ARTICLES ON SPORTS CONCUSSIONS
- Kids' concussions need follow-up after ER visit – Reuters
- Concussion awareness on rise across N.J. as fall high school sports season arrives – NJ.com
- Head Games and Youth Sports: Have We Gone Too Far? – The Huffington Post
- Youth concussions becoming more common, doctors say – The Examiner
BIAD Prevention Initiatives
BIAD has a goal to increase awareness about brain injury prevention in Delaware. We do this in a number of ways:
Public Service Announcements
BIAD works with local press to provide public service announcements. We provide interviews for local community broadcasts. We also place ads and submit press releases in newspapers in order to reach Delawareans.
BIAD is a frequent exhibitor at local disability conferences and health fairs. At these fairs, we promote brain health and injury prevention with our literature and by speaking with people directly.
Our staff visits local schools, focus groups, and universities to speak about brain injury prevention. If you would like to schedule a BIAD speaker, contact our office to set up a time.
Spreading the Word
Everywhere we go, whether it be formally or informally, we distribute our literature and talk about prevention. Click on the titles below to download BIAD's newest brochures in PDF format.
If you would like BIAD to make a presentation about brain injury prevention, please contact our office to make a request. We love to hear from you!
Two Special Publications
You can download the two publications "Concussion Booklet for School Staff" and "Concussion in Kids and Teens: A Parents' Guide" from our site (see below).
Concussion Booklet for school staff,
Concussion in Kids and Teens:
Many of the brain injuries that occur annually in this country can be prevented
- Every 23 seconds, one person in the U.S. sustains a Traumatic Brain Injury.
- An estimated 3.17 Million Americans currently live with disabilities resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury.
- 1.4 Million Americans sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury each year.
- More than 50,000 people die every year as a result of Traumatic Brain Injury.