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October 7, 2011

Add Concussion Awareness to Your Pre-Game Checklist

In an earlier post, James Richards comments on some of the issues surrounding concussions, kids, and sport.

A recent CNN article gives us more on the topic.

The article follows two high school athletes seriously injured while participating in their chosen sport.

Fourteen-year-old Brittany Noffke is left with a skull fracture, concussion, and brain bruising after a fall in cheerleading practice. Brittany and her family face incredible emotional, physical, and financial hardship for years after the fall.

High school footballer Chris Canales suffers a serious spinal cord injury during a game. Immobilized, Chris now uses a wheelchair after a challenging physical and psychological recovery.

“I never thought of cheerleaders as athletes. I didn’t realize the risk that these athletes face,” says Brittany’s mom.

“Someone injured on a professional level is going to be taken care of. But on a high school level, it’s a totally different story,” adds Chris’s dad.

An important theme in the article is the importance of concussion awareness. Brittany’s mom didn’t think such a serious injury possible in her daughter’s chosen sport. Chris’s father wasn’t prepared for the challenges post-injury.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has rolled out a new initiative to help build awareness of concussions in youth sports. Called “Heads Up,” the online resource provides coaches, athletes, and parents with information to help prevent, recognize and respond to a concussion.

A major point noted on the Heads Up website: if you think your athlete has sustained a concussion, don’t assess it yourself. Take him/her out of play, and seek the advice of a health care professional.

For more information: