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EDITORIAL: Know the signs and effects of concussions
Albert Lea Tribune - 12/18/2018
Dec. 18--Starting Saturday and continuing through Wednesday, the Tribune is delving into the issue of concussions and how they can -- and are -- affecting some of our local athletes.
To gather data about how concussions are affecting some of our local athletes, the Tribune sent out a survey to seventh- through 12th-grade students at United South Central and NRHEG schools.
Of the students who turned in the survey, 247 said they have or will participate in sports during this school year. Of that number, 19.4 percent have been diagnosed with a concussion as a result of playing sports, according to the survey. That equals out to almost 48 students.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This can create chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretch and damage brain cells.
Concussions can cause a person to appear dazed or stunned following a hit or fall, can affect memory recall about what happened before and after the event and can lead to clumsiness and changes in mood, behavior and personality, among other effects, the agency states. Some symptoms don't show up immediately and can show up hours or even days later, including headaches, nausea, vomiting, balance problems, dizziness and feeling sluggish.
The CDC encourages people to call 911 right away if your child or teenager has one pupil larger than the other, is not able to wake up, has a headache that does not go away, has slurred speech or decreased coordination, has convulsions or experiences a loss of consciousness.
Though concussions are usually not life-threatening, the effects of them can be serious.
We encourage you to talk to your children who play sports and encourage them to always be honest about how they are feeling.
If they experience a concussion, it is likely their sports will have to be put on hold for a while, but it is important that they rest and allow their brain to heal. Work with the athletic trainers at your child's school, who are trained in helping students recover from concussions.
(c)2018 the Albert Lea Tribune (Albert Lea, Minn.)
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