CogniFit's Science blog: March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is brain injury awareness month and one of the hot button issues that keep coming up is the correlation between sports and brain injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 3.8 million sports related concussions occur in the United States every year.

Of that 3.8 million over 170,000 of those brain injuries to children that are treated in the emergency room. We all know that NFL athletes, Boxers and other contact sports suffer from concussions. What most people don’t realize however is these repeated blows to the head do cause major brain injury over time.

Now that science has advanced to the point of really understanding what these brain injuries are doing to people over time many people are reexamining kids sports and how to keep them safer. Parents and coaches are coming together to put things in place to allow the kids to still play the sports they love while reducing their risk of brain injury.

For most people brain injury is caused by a blow to the head or hitting your head hard into an object or any other sudden movement that cause the head to jerk quickly. Symptoms of a brain injury can range from mile to very severe depending on the amount of damage done. The milder end up the spectrum may just feel like you are in a fog for a little while. The more severe end of the spectrum can results in unconsciousness, coma or even death.

The tricky part with athletes is a doctor may not be able to see the brain injury directly after the incident. It may take time to develop. If it goes untreated it has the ability to get worse quickly. Some of the ways athletes can be protected from brain injury include wearing proper protective equipment and making sure it is properly fitted.

It is also important when it comes to youth sports that people are educated at what to look for if a kid has been hit hard. Parents, coaches and other staff should all be educated on how concussions are diagnosed, prevented and treated. This gives the kids the best chance to get the help them need quickly as to not have further brain injury.

There are many current initiatives regarding this. New Jersey just passed a new law that requires all coaches, trainers and school physicians to take a concussion awareness program. The law also requires the immediate removal of any athlete from a practice or game that is suspected of having a concussion. These are good first steps to keeping our kids safer and brain injury awareness month will bring even more attention to this matter and how it can affect their cognitive skills.