(PRWEB) October 17, 2003
Atlanta, GA,(PRWEB) October 15, 2003Bumps and bruises after a long game of football or soccer may be a sign of drive and determination among young athletes, but a recent study reveals that small craniocerebral mishaps in kids sports could mean long-term neurological problems. A report in Pediatric Emergency Medicine Reports notes that continuous sports-related head injuries, improperly managed, could result in chronic pain, paralysis and even death for young athletes.
According to report co-author, Dr. Don Penney, Bouncing a ball and launching a seasons worth of defensive tackles could lead to extensive injuries if symptoms are overlooked by coaches, athletic trainers or parents,. Penney a Georgia spine surgeon and expert in treating rare neurological diseases, teamed up with Dr. Ronald M. Perkin, a Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics at East Carolina University to present the report focused specifically on pediatric athletic head injuries.
More than 300,000 sports-related head injuries occur each year nationwide, most of them among younger athletes, says Penney. Elementary and high school players suffer mild to moderate concussions and moderate brain injuries but because players appear to be functioning normally, many coaches and trainers inadvertently ignore crucial symptoms that could indicate substantial injury to the brain or spine.
Symptoms common to brain injuries include dizziness, ringing ears, blurred vision, loss of balance and confusion.
According to Penney, the first step to avoiding long-term brain trauma in young athletes is to recognize these signs. Children with mild head injuries comprise up to 93% of all head-injuries admitted to the hospital, says Penney. It is imperative that trainers and coaches properly identify the severity of a childs head injury and provide appropriate medical management before clearing a player to return to competition.
Trained in Toronto and at McGill University in Montreal, the Canadian-born spine surgeon annually treats more than 200 patients with spine injuries at Gwinnett Neurosurgical, just north of Atlanta.
While attending McGill, Penney began teaching neuroanatomy, histology and gross anatomy to medical students. Some of his students were young athletes who kept up with rigorous training routines that often resulted in continuous trauma to the brain and spine.
This study provides detailed guidelines for categorizing the severity of head-injury cases, taking into consideration a childs brain and how continuous injuries impact development, says Penney. Our conclusions suggest that proper assessment of even the slightest brain injury on the field could reduce the risk of long-term injuries and possibly reduce the risk of fatality among young athletes.
Penney also encourages coaches and athletic trainers to refrain from allowing players to return to the game until all possible symptoms of mild to moderate injuries have been ruled out.
A member of the American Medical Association, American Board of Emergency Medicine, and the Georgia Neurosurgical Society, Penney is currently Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. He is also on the teaching staff at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago, where he annually donates time to treat indigent patients.
To receive a full copy of the report on the long term effects of sports injuries on children and teens, call Carole Mumford or Marilyn Pearlman at 404-298-6910.