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Concussions can be serious injuries for young athletes

Over the past few weeks, we've been posting about concussions in sports. Most student athletes will never "go pro," nor will they be featured on the box of a popular cereal brand. Most student athletes also don't have top-of-the-line protective gear or a team of medical experts on the sidelines to protect and treat them.

Concussions are a type of brain injury, and should be treated as seriously as a brain injury would be. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the last decade, 173,285 people under the age of 20 sought emergency treatment for a nonfatal sports-related traumatic brain injury. That number is staggering. Last year, the state of California signed a bill into law requiring that athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion must be immediately removed from play and prohibiting their return to play until they have been evaluated by a physician.

Concussions are vastly underreported, partially due to varied definitions of what a concussion is, according to Dr. Geoffrey T. Manley chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital. The proper understanding of symptoms by coaches, peers, and parents can ensure that the proper treatment is received as soon as possible.

Negligence toward concussions and minor brain injuries on the part of physicians and medical staff, as well as coaches and team doctors can lead to serious complications. If proper treatment is not received, or worse if more damage occurs by not leaving a game, the consequences are serious. Permanent brain damage can be a result, causing much difficulty for the injured athlete and their family.

Source: The San Francisco Gate, "Concussions affect young athletes, too," Geoffrey T. Manley, Sept. 21, 2012

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