Concussions of adults are serious, but the concussion of a high school cheerleader who falls from the top of a pyramid, or the junior high hockey player who gets slammed against the rink, can be dire.
Their concussions can result in life-altering damage, said Mia Tischer, executive director of LearningRx Chicago-Naperville, . In fact, because the brain doesn’t fully mature until at least the mid-20s, any damage during its development can have a significant impact on cognition and day-to-day functioning.
“Luckily the brain is pliable and the earlier that an assessment is done, the quicker that training can begin to get back to day-to-day functioning,”
Here are three myths about concussions in children and young adults:
MYTH #1: The two most dangerous high school sports in terms of concussion rates are football and hockey.
Although high school football accounts for around 250,000 concussions each year (http://#_ftn1), the second most dangerous sport isn’t hockey; it’s girls’ soccer. Other school sports known for their concussion rates include boys’ wrestling, girls’ basketball, boys’ ice hockey, and boys’ lacrosse (http://#_ftn2). In addition, cheerleading has the highest rate of catastrophic injury. (http://#_ftn3)
MYTH #2: The best predictor of post-injury symptom severity and neurocognitive deficits is loss of consciousness. On-the-field amnesia is actually the most predictive symptom, and loss of consciousness occurs in fewer than 10 percent of concussions. In terms of general concussion symptoms, watch for: headache, confusion, lightheadedness or dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, memory loss, ringing in the ears, bad taste in mouth, convulsions or seizures, numbness or poor coordination in limbs, fatigue or lethargy, agitation or restlessness, changes in sleep patterns, mood swings and behavior changes, and trouble with concentration, attention, or thinking.
MYTH #3: MRIs, CTs and EEGs are the most useful tools in identifying the effects of concussion.
MRIs, CTs, and EEGs are not always useful at identifying the effects of a concussion. “Concussions are usually metabolic, not structural injuries,” explains Tanya Mitchell, co-author of “Unlock the Einstein Inside; Applying New Brain Science to Wake Up the Smart in Your Child” (www.unlocktheeinsteininside.com)
Did you know?:
• According to one study of the 1.6 to 3.8 million sport-related concussions that occur in the United States each year, around 250,000 are due to high-school football alone.
• Between 4 and 20 percent of players will sustain a concussion in a single season.
• The second most dangerous sport (after football) is girls’ soccer.
• Other sports with high concussion rates include boys’ wrestling, girls’ basketball, boys’ ice hockey and boys’ lacrosse.
 “Epidemiology of concussions among United States high school athletes in 20 sports” April 2012 issue of American Journal of Sports Medicine
 “Neurocognitive testing more accurate than self-reporting when assessing concussion recovery in cheerleaders”