Many times, as a parent, I have asked myself whether I should let my teenage daughters play a specific sport due to the prevalence of injuries. Most of my reaction was based on the latest headlines, or my personal feeling about a sport. Even notorious sports like football, may, in fact, be getting safer when compared to its grisly beginings.
It may be hard to come across a complete picture of teenage sports injuries, and they are not well-reported in the CDA press. This article from USA Today entitled, “1.35 million youths a year have serious sports injuries” was extremely eye-opening as a parent. As I reviewed the article, I recognized that the injury that scares me the most with my daughters is concussion. Although, football has the highest number of concussion injuries, basketball and soccer, which my daughter plays, come in a close second and third. The irony is that basketball and soccer are officiated to be non-contact. Thus, there is no head protection against concussion.
I have said that the day she gets her first concussion is the day she quits soccer. I know there are lots of kids that don’t get hurt, so hopefully mine won’t. What is relieving is that the medical profession is gearing up to treat these injuries better. It may be tongue-in-cheek, but so is the law profession. There is a cottage industry of lawyers willing to “help”.
One of the technologies that has been developed to test for the incidence of concussion is the imPACT test. This is a cognitive functioning test that can be delivered after a suspected concussion to see how the teen-ager compares to a baseline test taken prior to concussive symptoms. I haven’t done it yet, and I hope to soon. There are some great local resources, here in CDA. In 2012, I know the Kellogg High School football team put a imPACT based program into practice, and likewise CDA High School has a testing program for teens from 9th grade onward for high risk sports.
Longer term, I am sure we’ll see more diagnostics technologies coming out to help teens avoid sports injuries. That is the benefit of being in a fast-moving industry. I love it! Hopefully, you find this interesting and I’ll write a new blog post about my daughter’s experience when we get that imPACT test.
See you around town…