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Concussion Awareness in Youth Sports

  • October 12, 2016

Sports among children and youth are as competitive as they have ever been, and all too often young athletes try to “suck it up” rather than informing a coach or parent that they are injured. When it comes to head injuries, this can lead to serious – or even fatal – consequences. Concussion awareness and training programs for youth sports programs will go a long way toward preventing, recognizing, and managing concussions in children and youth.


Sports-related concussions are common in young people. In fact, a Canadian Emergency Department study found that approximately 50% of head injuries in youth under the age of 19 were sports related. In high school athletics, concussions accounted for between 9-12% of all injuries.¹

Rowan’s Law, which is named after 17-year-old Rowan Stringer, who passed away after incurring two concussions in a single week while playing high school rugby, passed earlier this year in the Ontario Legislature. Like many kids her age, Rowan did not want to be pulled from the “big game,” so she kept her symptoms to herself. A better understanding of concussions may well have prevented her death. The Ontario law sets policy on the responsibilities of youth sports organizations when it comes to concussions.

Which Sports are High Risk for Concussions?

The risk of concussion is distinctly higher in contact sports such as football, hockey and certain martial arts, but even non-contact sports pose some risk. In soccer, for example, players are often encouraged to head the ball or may be accidently kicked during a collision between players. Slips and falls on a basketball or tennis court may lead to concussions as well.

Because accidents can happen in ANY sport, it is important for all coaches, instructors and parents to develop an understanding of risks associated with concussions in youth.

Concussion Prevention

Youth sports organizations should strive to prevent concussions from occurring in the first place. This can be done by ensuring that athletes are wearing proper safety equipment and ensuring facilities are appropriately equipped by padding goal posts; inspecting playing fields or courts for trip hazards such as holes or uneven surfaces; and enforcing the rules of the game and good sportsmanship.

Concussion Management

If a hit to the head does occur, coaches should err on the side of caution and pull the player from the game. As much as possible, young players should also be encouraged to let a coach or parent know that they have an injury. The pressure to play and not “let down the team” should never be so high that a child is reluctant to speak up.

If an athlete’s health is in question, parents and coaches should watch for these common concussion symptoms:

  • Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or poor balance
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of concentration or confusion
  • Just not feeling right

If a concussion is suspected in a young athlete, medical attention should be sought immediately, and they should not be allowed back into the game until their doctor has cleared them to play again.

Taking steps to prevent concussions from occurring and having procedures in place for when a concussion is suspected will go a long way toward protecting children and teens who participate in sports.

How Can a Will Davidson LLP Personal Injury Lawyer Help You

Our compassionate lawyers at Will Davidson LLP have experience with children’s injuries cases. In every case, the task of restoring quality of life for the injured child and their family is crucial. It can be emotionally draining and financially devastating. An experienced personal injury law firm is so important to this process. We offer a complimentary consultation and a ‘no win, no fee’ policy. Our lawyers are conveniently located in Toronto, Oakville, Burlington, Orillia, Midland, Huntsville, Lindsay, Markham, Whitby, and Bowmanville. Call a Will Davidson LLP personal injury lawyer at 1.866.840.9002 to speak with one of our lawyers about your potential injury claim.



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