by Tatum O’Brien
Each year, more than three million children in the U.S. participate in youth soccer, nearly twice as many as in 1990. While soccer is an extremely popular sport, soccer injuries are sending more and more young players to the emergency room with concussion symptoms.
According to a CBS News report, the rate of injuries from playing soccer ranks second only to football, likely because of the increased popularity of soccer and the fact that kids are playing the sport year round in multiple leagues. While football-related concussions result in more ER visits than any other sport for boys, the top concussion-related sport for girls is actually soccer.
What Is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of brain injury in response to head trauma. Concussions are a common type of sports injury, and may be suffered due to a blow to the head or hitting the head during a fall. Many soccer-related concussions occur when heads collide as players jump up to head the ball.
People with concussions often cannot remember what happened immediately before or after the injury and may act confused. Paramedics and athletic trainers who suspect a person has suffered a concussion may ask the injured person if they know their name, what month or year it is and where they are.
Symptoms of a concussion may not become apparent immediately, and may start days or even weeks after an injury. Some signs to look for in children include:
- Unusual tiredness or listlessness
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Slurred speech or says things that don’t make sense
- Variations in school performance»Lack of interest in previously favorite activities
- Loss of certain newly-acquired skills
- Loss of balance and unsteadiness
- Nausea and vomiting
In most instances, a single concussion will not cause permanent damage. A doctor will use a neurological exam and imaging tests to diagnose a concussion, and most people will recover fully, but it can take some time. Rest is very important to help the brain to heal. A second concussion soon after the first one, however, can be permanently disabling. Thus, it is extremely important not to release the child back to play the contact sport without medical approval.