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February 15, 2012

Concussions Worse for Youth

Last week, The Vancouver Sun gave us a first-hand account of the impact that concussions have on youth.

The story is about an 11-year-old hockey player named Jason who has suffered two concussions this season. Most recently, Jason took a shoulder to the head from a bigger opponent, sending him crashing into the boards and leaving him with a concussion.

Jason simply got up and skated to the bench after the hit.

But his father and coach both knew that something was wrong. The next day doctors confirmed that Jason had suffered his second concussion in only six months, and for several weeks after he would wake up with throbbing headaches.Even worse for Jason was sitting on the sidelines watching his teammates play.

Jason’s full recovery is critical. Parents and coaches must be careful that young athletes avoid Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). SIS strikes when a child suffers a hit to the head when they have not recovered from a previous concussion. A second hit causes the brain to swell, resulting in disability or death.

In the Fall, James Richards wrote about Derek Sheely, a young football player who lost his life to SIS. Derek’s brain swelled after sustaining multiple blows to the head. His story was printed in the New York Times.

Jason’s full recovery will avoid the devastating outcome of Derek’s football injuries. But Jason’s father says one more concussion will be enough to end the youngster’s hockey career altogether. He says it’s just not worth the risk.

The Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference

The Pacific Coast Brain Injury Conference is happening this week from Feb 15th-17th, providing an opportunity for the brain injury community to get together. The theme for this year’s event is Real people with Real Lives: It takes a Village.

The conference is at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre in Vancouver, with satellite conferences held in Victoria and Kamloops on the same dates. Visit http://brainstreams.ca/conference/registration to register for the event.

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