Junior sports: a dangerous game

By Mariam Digges

Junior sports: a dangerous game
New studies report that more than 20% of child sport-related concussions are going undiagnosed or treated.

Junior sports can be a dangerous game, with new studies emerging from Sports Medicine Australia detailing the importance of dealing with child concussion properly

“Being able to correctly identify a concussion and deal with it accordingly is a skill anyone involved with junior sport should possess. Once identified the number one objective should be the safety and health of that child,” said SMA Chief Executive Officer, Nello Marino.

According to the author of the Sport Health article, Neurosurgeon Professor Gavin Davis, sport-related concussion is more common in junior sport than in any other athletic group, however only 20 per cent of concussed children are being diagnosed and dealt with properly.

“Children are not merely ‘little adults’ but have significant physical, physiological and development differences that place them at long term risk if sports concussion is not managed appropriately.

“Management of concussion is very simple. If there is any suspicion of a concussion, the child must be removed from the field of play, be medically assessed, and not allowed to return to play that day,” said Professor Davis.

Once concussion has been identified, the child’s return to school rather than a return to sport is the main objective

“It is critical for the child’s cognitive development that return to activity is introduced in a stepwise fashion*, and that management of concussion in the child is more conservative than in adults. The child’s ability to return to learn depends on it,” said Professor Davis.

“This means no sport, school, reading, computer, internet, electronic games in the first few days following concussion and a medical clearance is necessary before returning to any of these activities.”


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