Believe it or not, parents and coaches are still majorly irresponsible when it comes to understanding the symptoms of concussions and the athlete's consequential allowance back into the game. A recent research paper called "Post-Head Hit Return to Play Awareness in Parents and Coaches" suggests that our concussion problem in America has not gotten any better lately. Presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC, the study suggests that of 506 parents and coaches with children eighteen years or younger, a staggering amount of them "would feel comfortable sending a young athlete back into the game before a doctor's OK."
How staggering? Apparently, more than 40% of coaches and 50% of parents would do so, in fact. Of course, CoachUp shouldn't have to tell you how alarmingly worrisome these statistics are -- how are we supposed to protect our younger generation if we're so willing to put them in dangerous situations? Thus, the study asserts, athletes that require emergency room treatment will not receive it anywhere between 25 and 50% of the time. The study then attempts to reach a few conclusions -- firstly being, it's not that parents don't understand the physical symptoms of a massive head blow, it's that they don't realize its the product of a concussion. Dizziness, fatigue, blurry vision, as they put it, are common side effects of head trauma, but most parents still associate it with non-threatening physical and mental conditions, leading them to believe it's OK to leave an athlete in.
Finally, they put these parents and coaches into two buckets as they're either an adult that "takes no chances" or does "watchful waiting." Or, in simpler terms, there are those that would rather keep an athlete out to be safe and those that leave them in, delay medical attention, and hope that it doesn't get worse. This, frankly, is unacceptable.
Parents and coaches must be knowledgable of concussion symptoms and how continued physical activity may be putting them in critical danger -- that much is absolutely clear. Your wins, achievements, and touchdowns are unimportant and irrelevant if you're consistently putting athletes in harm's way because of any lapse in judgement. Furthermore, we all must do our part to convert these "watchful waiting" coaches to the safer and protective side. If an athlete is exhibiting any of the popular symptoms, it is irresponsible and downright dangerous to allow them back in without taking the proper precautions. The problem of concussions in youth sports will never go away so long as we have people that are not adhering to the take-no-risks mindset.
Remember, your wins mean nothing if an athlete is at risk; so do your part to help change this shockingly dangerous mindset in youth sports.
Find a responsible coach with CoachUp, where your child's health is the #1 priority.
PsychCentral -- Many Parents, Coaches Still Unaware of the Dangers of Concussions in Young Athletes