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Updated February 22, 2023
Concussion awareness has been growing in recent years as research has drawn stronger conclusions about the short- and long-term risks of traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially among athletes. Some of the risks have gotten a great deal of attention, including a condition known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease that results in memory loss, impulse control problems, changes in behavior, and dementia. CTE is most often diagnosed in professional athletes, such as football players, who have suffered many concussions or other traumatic brain injuries over a period of time.
But research suggests that head injuries and concussions may also lead to problems in even the smallest children, and parents are cautioned to be alert after any suspected head injury.
Researchers affiliated with the University of Montreal have discovered that many young children (ages five and under) may also suffer concussions. Their data suggest that up to 2 percent of young children experience a concussion in a given year, in part because the bones of their skulls are still growing and are too thin and soft to protect the brain from an unexpected blow.
The Montreal researchers caution that, because children of this age are rapidly developing important foundations for language, social, emotional, and other skills, parents should be alert to any changes in behavior after a child suffers a head trauma. They note specifically that when a child experiences a concussion but there are no outward signs, a problem might be indicated when there is a noticeable drop in the quantity and quality of interaction with parents. If your child suddenly interacts with you much less, or behaves in a different way, it’s a good idea to bring it to the attention of the family physician.
Even if a child’s injury is an accident or seems small at the time, serious brain damage could still result. Though concussions don’t always cause long-term damage, repeated concussion can be dangerous for a child. If a child is gets a sports related concussion, it’s best to wait some time before putting them back into the game to decrease the risk of multiple concussions.
The research and anxieties about very small children and concussions are new, but concerns about brain injuries in older children have already been on the radar in Indiana for some time. In 2014, Indiana became the first state to require that all high school coaches receive concussion training and that players who suffer a head injury wait 24 hours before returning to play or practice their sport. Recent changes to Indiana Codes also require head and assistant football coaches for grades 1-12 to get certified in a couching course that includes concussion awareness.
This law is an important step in protecting all student-athletes from the dangers of traumatic brain injury. More than 2,000 Indiana student-athletes receive concussions each year. Identifying injured athletes more effectively and keeping them from being injured again before they can heal is an important goal.
Injuries can happen in sports and while performing everyday activities. Sometimes these injuries are simply accidents, and nothing could have been done to prevent them. But many times these injuries are the result of negligence or a reckless disregard for the safety of others—even in a situation that is otherwise considered safe or properly supervised, such as school activities or youth sports.
If you or a loved one have suffered from a concussion, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Brain Injury Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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