Prevent Concussions As Student Athletes Head Back From Winter Break

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Children across the country are back in school following winter break, and many of them will take part in sports. The Levy Baldante personal injury firm explains how parents can help their kids avoid concussion risks associated with a number of different activities.’s true that a jarring hit from one football player to another can pose an inordinate concussion risk, but players in a wide range of other sports also suffer concussions every year.

With winter break over, students from across the country have trudged back into the classroom, and many of them will no doubt be engaged in various sports.

It’s thus the perfect time to revisit and try to counteract some of the many concussion hazards that exist for student athletes. According to a study from October 2011 featured on the CDC’s website, an average of 173,285 Traumatic Brain Injuries occurred yearly from 2001 to 2009 among kids below the age of 19. In 2009, the number of TBI visits prompting emergency room visits rose to 248,418, an alarming jump from the 153,375 visits in 2001.

The Levy Baldante Law Firm worries about the long-term implications of such injuries and hopes that parents, students, coaches, and administrators can all work together to prevent injuries before they start. As attorney Lawrence D. Finney explains, that means reducing concussion threats in all sports, not just those most publicized.

“If you were to follow the media, you’d get the sense that concussions were the sole purview of the football field,” said Mr. Finney, “but that isn’t the case. Yes, it’s true that a jarring hit from one football player to another can pose an inordinate concussion risk, but players in a wide range of other sports also suffer concussions every year. Prevention and prompt medical intervention are essential to paring down the threat.”

Toward that end, the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers of Levy Baldante have outlined some of the sports that pose a concussion risk and provided tips on what can be done to mitigate the danger:

•Football- The problem of concussions in football brooks no easy solution. The nature of the game is such that complete elimination of the threat may hinge on a complete reworking of the fundamentals of the game. At the moment, many are loathe to completely alter our nation’s most popular pastime in such a way, even as calls for safety improvements become louder and louder.

Coaches can limit the risk of a concussion by teaching student athletes the proper way to hit. Rather than leading with the head, runners and tacklers should stand up so that their chests can take the brunt of the damage. Refs can do their part by penalizing inappropriate hits that have the potential to do lasting damage, sending a message that those hits won’t be tolerated.

•Soccer- The biggest threat in soccer occurs when student athletes go up for what’s known as a “header.” When two athletes leap for the ball, they can connect with each other and each suffer a concussion. Athletes can be instructed to look out for other players when jumping into the air, and legs should be kept well below the waist so that an errant kick doesn’t connect with another participant’s head.

•Cheerleading- Concussions become possible anytime a cheerleader is launched into the air by teammates. Such moves should be attempted only at the professional level after months and years of training, and schools should place limits on dangerous maneuvers that could lead to a student being dropped.

•Volleyball- Similar to soccer, concussions tend to occur when two players go for the ball at the same time. Communication is the key to resolving such threats.

•Swimming- Persons entering a pool should go in feet first unless they can be sure of the pool’s depth. Only those who have perfected their diving technique should dive directly into shallow waters lest they strike their head on a pool’s bottom.

•Hockey- There’s no getting around the fact that hockey is an aggressive sport, but players must watch out for defenseless players and refrain from checking in a way that could cause head impact damage. As with football, policing by referees can act as a signal that illegal hits are not acceptable.

These measures are preventative, but sometimes a concussion may still occur despite precautions. At such times, a student athlete should be pulled from the activity, given ample rest and provided with immediate care from a qualified healthcare professional.

The law firm of Levy, Baldante, Finney, Rubenstein, Cohen & Chizmar, P.C. has been fighting for the rights of injured parties since its founding in the 1960s. Recognized by such organizations as Super Lawyers, the American Association for Justice, and the Trial Lawyers Associations of both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Levy Baldante is dedicated to assisting persons injured by medical malpractice, automobile accidents, defective products, premises liability, and other instances of personal injury. Head to Levy Baldante’s website to learn more about the firm’s services.

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