The leading cause of death from sports-related injuries is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Twenty-one percent of all TBIs among American children/adolescents are related to sports and recreational activities. A TBI can be the result of when the head is suddenly and violently hit by an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue. The symptoms of a TBI can vary depending on the severity of the damage done to the brain. A mild case can result in a brief change in mental state or consciousness, while a severe case can result in extended periods of unconsciousness, coma, or even death. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, there were an estimated 446,788 sports-related head injuries in 2009.
The top ten sports and/or recreational injuries among children ages 14 or younger are:
- Baseball and Softball
- Water Sports
- Powered Recreational Vehicles
- Winter Sports
There are ways to preventing head injuries when your child is involved in one or more of the sports listed above. Buy and use a helmet or other protective head gear that's been approved by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Supervise your child at all times, and do not let them use any sporting equipment or play sports inappropriate for their age. Also, perform regular safety check of their equipment. But most importantly, discard and replace any sporting equipment or protective gear that is damaged.