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For Release: August 29, 2013 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications - 405/271-5601

Stay Fit and Healthy By Playing Safely to Prevent Sports Injuries
National Childhood Injury Prevention Week is Sept. 1-7

Playing sports is a great way for your child to stay fit and healthy, learn about teamwork, make friends, and develop a sense of personal satisfaction. However, children and teens are at high risk for sports and recreation-related injuries, many of which are preventable. As the new school year begins and fall sports are underway, the Oklahoma State Department of Health urges the practice of safety precautions that can prevent sports and recreation-related injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the U.S., emergency departments treat an estimated 173,285 sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among children and teens to age 19. In Oklahoma in 2010, about 25 percent of hospitalized TBIs in children and teens to age 19 were a result of injuries from all-terrain vehicle crashes, cycling, football, and horseback riding.

A type of TBI of particular concern for youth is a concussion, which is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover from it than adults. Concussion symptoms may appear mild, but the injury can lead to problems affecting how a person thinks, learns, acts, and feels. Symptoms differ with each person and with each injury, and they may not be noticeable for hours or days. Common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty remembering or paying attention
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Feeling irritable, more emotional, or “down”
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bothered by light or noise
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss of consciousness

Concussions can occur outside of sports, or during any recreation activity, so all parents and caregivers need to recognize the signs and know what to do if a concussion occurs. A quick reference is to remember the ABCs of concussions: Assess the situation, Be alert for signs and symptoms, and Contact a health care professional. To protect against concussions, follow the coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport; practice good sportsmanship at all times; and if you think you have a concussion or know someone who might, don’t hide it. Report it and seek medical attention.

For more information on concussions, contact the OSDH Injury Prevention Service at (405) 271-3430 or visit http://ips.health.ok.gov and click on “Traumatic Brain Injury” in the left navigation column.

Additional information on preventing concussions can be found at

http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/ and http://www.safekids.org/blog-post/concussions-importance-using-our-heads.

 

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