Back to School, Back to Sports
September brings kids back to school and back to the sports field.
Very soon, teams of kids will be racing onto football fields and begin crashing into each other with the all the wild abandon of bulls on the streets of Pamplona.
The reality of a sport like football is that a good number of kids will walk away from the field with bumps and bruises that will heal in time. For years, we brushed this off as part of the game, and while bumped knees and elbows may not be too concerning, bumps to the head are a different story. We do our best to protect kids with helmets, but kids can still suffer concussion despite the use of safety equipment. Concussions in sport are common and ought to be treated seriously.
Of course football is not the only offender. Concussion can occur in any number of sports, contact or otherwise, or even as a result of a simple slip and fall or tumble from a play structure.
Parents, educators, coaches and health care providers have new tools at their disposal this year to help manage and understand concussion. On June 25th the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) released guidelines for the treatment of Pediatric Concussion. The ONF stresses that early and proper concussion management can significantly improve a child’s outcome.
The guidelines target school age children from ages 5 – 18 and outlines the basics of concussion recognition and management. They are written in plain language and are easily accessible to parents, coaches and teachers. In fact, the ONF offers tailored versions of its recommendations depending on the intended audience: for parents/caregivers, schools or health care professionals.
Concussions have grabbed the media spotlight as of late and hopefully now that the general population has a greater knowledge of the phenomenon, these guidelines will be implemented amongst all schools and sports teams in the province. The ONF encourages schools and sports teams to download the guidelines from their website at no cost for personal and professional use.
Dr. Mike Evans, a contributor to the Guideline Panel and a physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, has put together a really fun and informative video that he calls Concussion 101 that clearly explains concussion for kids and parents alike.
Team sports are excellent activities on so many levels, the ONF guidelines will help kids enjoy them just a little more safely and that is certainly a good thing.
This blog post was contributed by Angela Comella, OTLA member and lawyer practicing with Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers.