One of the most common questions concussion experts are currently being asked by parents is: “Should I keep my kids in sports?” Concussion, a public health issue, has gained a great deal of media attention recently, particularly with the release of the movie “Concussion.” This has led to confusion about concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and whether it’s safe to leave kids in contact sports or what to do if a child has already suffered a concussion.
The good that comes from athletics far outweighs the risk of a possible concussion or the much less likely CTE. Youth sports have a number of benefits, including physical fitness, discipline, time management lessons and teamwork skills that have a positive impact long after the season ends. Organized sports also represent a very constructive place where young people of all backgrounds can spend their time in a supportive team environment. In fact, the consequences of not having sports programs are far more significant than the injuries seen in these sports.
Keeping your child on the field does not mean you should ignore concussions. Concern is appropriate, but don’t let fear keep your child on the sidelines. The value and enjoyment of sports are an important part of growing up. Seeking prompt attention if an injury does occur, the risk of your child suffering a long-term consequence from head injury will likely be minimal.