What Parents Should Know About Soccer Concussions in Philadelphia Youth

Your child loves to play soccer. You love watching her or him play on the field, but as a parent, you worry. All sports come with risks. What if something goes wrong, and your child ends up with a head injury?

Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, we understand your concerns, and we believe that information is key in helping you make the best treatment decisions for yourself and your loved ones. To help you better understand these injuries, we’ve put together this guide to soccer concussions in Philadelphia area athletes.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, which happens when the brain is twisted or bumped around in the skull. This can be a result of a blow to the head or neck, but it can also be the result of a sudden change in direction or trauma to the whole body, such as what happens during a car accident. Concussions vary in level of severity. Some people will have very few symptoms, while others may have long term impairment. If left undiagnosed and untreated, any concussion can result in serious complications, so it’s important to see a doctor at the first sign of soccer concussion in Philadelphia area youth athletes.

I want to know how to prevent concussions in soccer players.

Preventing concussions in soccer players is important to athletes, coaches, and parents alike, but it’s sometimes difficult to do. Whereas other sports have protective helmets and headgear, soccer players not only play without head protection, but they use their heads to redirect the ball. In fact, soccer headers and concussions have been linked by scientists and doctors studying the game.

While soccer concussions in Philadelphia athletes are difficult to prevent, there are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of a brain injury on the field. One of the best ways to mitigate the risk of concussion is to teach good sportsmanship among players in your league. Kids who practice good sportsmanship are less rough with other players and themselves, making head injuries less likely. Another important way to prevent concussion is to discourage players, especially very young players, from heading the ball. Young brains are still forming, making them more vulnerable to concussion. This is especially crucial for players under the age of 14.

What are some soccer concussion symptoms?

Concussion symptoms vary depending on the individual, their history of injury, and the severity of their current concussion. Symptoms to look out for in your child include:

  • Headache

  • Confusion

  • Feeling like they are in a fog

  • Feeling of “pressure” in the head

  • Loss of memory of the traumatic event

  • Dizziness or “seeing stars”

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Nausea with or without vomiting

  • Slurred speech

  • Delayed response to questions

  • Irritability

  • Tiredness

  • Appearing dazed

  • Loss of consciousness following injury

It’s important to note that the vast majority of concussion patients do not lose consciousness immediately following the injury. Even if your child is not “knocked out” by her injury, it’s important for her to see a doctor if she presents other concussion symptoms.

How are soccer concussions in Philadelphia athletes treated?

The one treatment universally prescribed for concussion patients is rest and symptom observation for the first 48-72 hours following the trauma. The brain and body need time to recover from this injury, which means plenty of initial downtime is important. During the first few days following a concussion, your doctor will recommend that your child avoid:

  • Video games, computer games, and mobile games

  • More than thirty minutes of TV per day

  • Texting

  • Reading for long periods of time

  • Exercise

  • Playing sports

  • Doing schoolwork or homework

  • Bright lights and loud noises

  • Having long phone conversations

  • Driving (if your teen regularly drives, this should be avoided until cleared by a doctor)

Your doctor will need to clear your child to return to her or his usual activities following a concussion, after determining that they have passed the 5-step return-to-play protocol. Preemptively resuming your child’s usual athletic routine before he or she has been evaluated or treated can lead to second impact syndrome, or a second concussion, which can be life threatening. Fortunately, following your physician’s instructions and waiting for a clearance note to return to activities can prevent these complications.

Rothman Orthopaedic Institute partners with the Comprehensive Concussion Center at Jefferson University Hospitals to treat soccer concussions in Philadelphia athletes. For more information, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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