We need to play it safe with our young athletes

In professional sports, the spotlight is focusing on concussions more and more these days, especially in football. Contact sports create a lot of potential for head injury, and whether or not the injuries are immediately life-threatening, they should be taken much more seriously. While professional athletes have access to the best diagnosis and monitoring of head trauma, most youth athletes do not.

Few regulations are in place to ensure that helmets are properly worn during games. Too many people have suffered the detriments of concussions, simply because preventive measures weren’t effectively utilized. An emphasis needs to be placed on how to properly fit and wear helmets, not only by athletes, but by parents and coaches as well. Additionally, coaches should be knowledgeable of the warning signs of concussions, even if minor.

While concussions are talked about rather often, seldom does one hear about Second-Impact Syndrome. Even if an initial concussion does not seem a valid reason for an athlete to sit out the rest of the game, the possible effects of a second could be completely debilitating. Coaches need to make it more of a point to play it safe with their athletes to prevent life-altering damage from occurring. With the basic knowledge needed to spot a minor concussion, coaches can help protect our youth and promise them longer sports careers.

Anne Smith

Orchard Park