Can Helmets Prevent Sports-Related Brain Injuries?

ID-100316145In America, playing sports is more than an adolescent dream, it’s a rite of passage. Statistics are clear on this subject: 36,000,000 kids between kindergarten and their senior year in high school play organized sports annually; 60% play outside of school; 66% of boys and 52% of girls are on teams, and 85% of dads coach their own kids’ teams. With the popularity of helicopter parents in this country, it’s all too easy to forget the reasons for encouraging sports play in the first place. Statistics don’t lie, modern stats show that 9 out of 10 parents worry about the safety of their kids on the playing field enough to bully them into quitting sports altogether. What’s the big scare today? Concussions. But why is that such an issue, what can be done about it, and how does a traumatic brain injury lawyer fit into all of this?

So What Is This Big Danger Lurking on the Playing Field?

For adults who played sports, seeing kids repeat the process brings back memories of their glory days. But even those who haven’t experienced the rush firsthand can’t deny the effects of watching their own kids on the field. Of course, with that rush of pride and excitement come fear and panic when accidents happen. Visual accidents are simple enough to treat. A scrape, cut, or even a broken bone can be handled instantly. That’s not the case when the injury is internal.

Many sports – including football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, tennis, volleyball, golf, and gymnastics – can lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). While no brain injury can be considered minor, they do range from relatively mild to severe. A concussion is the most common and generally mildest form of TBI in which the injury causes the brain to shake or bounce around inside the skull. This can lead to anything from slight bruising and disorientation to coma and death. Over 3,500,000 kids under the age of 14 end up in the hospital annually for sports-related injuries, and approximately 2,000,000 of those are concussions. But, according to the CDC, at least half of those sports injuries can easily be avoided.

Do Helmets Really Prevent Concussions?

Parents have the final say in regardless of whether a child participates in their beloved choice of sport, but 87% of parents have serious concerns about the safety of their kids on the playing field. There’s good reason for this since 47% of all concussions occur in high school football, and 33% of those cases happen during practice. Adults are quick to point the blame here: The coaches aren’t trained well enough, the teammates are bullies, and helmets are a hindrance. But is the latter issue relevant or simply misguided and dangerous gossip?

It is true that helmets can’t prevent concussions alone. Parents want that fix… that promise that their kids will be safe on the field. Short of wrapping your kids in bubble wrap and duct taping them to their bedroom wall (and we’ve all considered that at least once), there are no guarantees there. However, according to the results of a recent American Academy of Neurology study, helmet usage reduces the risk of skull fracture by 60 to 70% and helmets reduce the risk of brain tissue bruising by 70 to 80%.

Does that guarantee your kid won’t be hurt or suffer a brain injury while playing sports? Unfortunately, the answer to that is no. But helmets are essential safety gear that significantly reduce that risk. Look, becoming a pro athlete is not equivalent to winning the lottery. Kids have a 1 in 4,000 to 1 in 10,000 chance of playing pro in this country if they continue to play the game and do it safely. Those are pretty good odds. Good parents encourage safety and perseverance. And you can rest assured knowing a competent brain injury attorney has your family’s back in the event that net is needed. So go on… play ball!

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