May 22, 2019 by John Fernandez and Tanya Racoobian
Watch Now: Heads Up – Brain Injury Awareness In Teen Athletes
(VIDEO: Richard Hamilton, Ph.D., clinical director, brain injury and concussion rehabilitation programs atBaptist Hospital discusses Brain Injury Awareness Month)
As teenage athletes continue to push the limits of strength and speed, the risk for concussions is an ever-present danger. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow to the head or by an impact to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. In either case the brain can be jarred inside the skull, damaging brain cells and causing symptoms such as:
- -Vacant stare, appearing dazed or stunned.
- -Delayed verbal and motor responses.
- -Confusion and inability to focus attention.
- -Slowed, slurred or incoherent speech.
- -Gross observable incoordination/balance.
- -Slowed reaction time.
- -Emotions out of proportion to circumstances.
- -Memory loss.
- -Loss of consciousness.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly 250-thousand children (age 19 or younger) were treated in U.S. emergency departments for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or TBI.
Richard Hamilton, Ph.D., clinical director of the brain injury and concussion rehabilitation programs at Baptist Hospital, says the increased awareness had trickled down to protecting younger children, who are especially susceptible to brain injuries: “middle school and elementary age children had been neglected up until recently, but that’s all changing. We’re putting rules into place where we are trying to protect the young.” Schools like Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in South Miami partner with Baptist Health South Florida to educate, test and treat athletes that may be affected by concussions.
The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is hosting Brain Day, on Saturday, March 21, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The Museum is located at 3280 South Miami Avenue. Visitors will be able to explore the latest science and prevention methods related to stroke and concussions. Children 12 years old and younger are free with paid adult admission.