Playing sports is a right of passage for many kids. But kids can suffer serious head trauma and jeopardize their future.
It goes without saying that playing sports is a big part of going to school. Volleyball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer are some of the most popular sports. Kids risk sustaining serious injuries if they have a concussion while playing sports. A pattern of concussions during youth has an impact on cognitive functions later in life. Those who continue to play sports face the reality of dying if they get hit once too often.
Although head injuries seem to be quite prevalent in just about any sport, there is not a lot being done about it. It is talked about and many people worry; yet, there is not much in the way of training and education about the seriousness of head injuries and prevention.
New Jersey recently introduced a bill into the legislature that would mandate athletic coaches to actively participate in a head injury prevention training program. It is about time. Kids are our future, and we need to not only protect them from serious head injuries, but train and educate them about what traumatic brain injury is, how to recognize it, avoid it if possible and how to deal with it should they get hit. With enough people supporting the bill in New Jersey, the program may start to be utilized in other states, even Texas.
While it is true that anyone may sustain a head injury, athletes are more likely to get thumped in the head because of the nature of the games in which they participate. Most often, head injuries are the result of a blow to the head or even being violently shaken. Any blow to the head has the potential to result in a concussion, which is an injury that alters the way the brain works. Even if the injury is mild, there are still long-lasting repercussions. Moderate to severe injuries have the potential to lead to a vegetative state and death.
Will the New Jersey bill do what it is intended to do? That is a tough question, but so far it looks like it may be off to a good start. However, the bill excluded cheerleaders because what they do is not considered to be a sport, but is classified as an activity. That is odd, given the well-documented fact that cheerleaders many protests.
For instance, many will recall the pyramid stunt and the media frenzy in 2006 when Kristi Yamoaka sustained a fractured vertebra after she fell from a human pyramid and hit her head doing this stunt. She suffered a concussion and badly bruised a lung. Although she eventually recovered, not everyone is as lucky. Thankfully, the protests paid off and cheerleaders were subsequently included in the bill. If every state had a bill like this, head trauma incidents might just decline.
Whitney Lonker is a Jacksonville personal injury attorney with Lonker