As kids head back to school after summer vacation, many are returning to school sports and perhaps riding a bike or scooter to and from school. Let’s take some time to go over the risks of concussions and share our injury prevention checklist.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, bicycling is a leading cause of head injury for U.S. children 14 and younger. In Indiana, about 9 out of 10 children who ride bicycles say they rarely or never wear a helmet.
In school sports, it is estimated that more than 3.8 million concussions occur annually in the United States, with potentially up to 43% of these unreported and untreated, according to the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics.
However, the National Federation of State High School Associations reported that concussion rates continued a downward trend for the 2020-2021 school year, and that risk minimization is essential for prevention.
With these key areas in mind, here are some of the best ways we can help prevent concussions this school year.
Always Wear a Helmet When Cycling
Even if you’re just going down the street. Especially if you’re just going down the street. Helmets can reduce the odds of severe head injuries in accidents by about 70%, and fatal head injuries by 65%, studies show.
Make Sure Helmets are Properly Fitted
The helmet should be snug enough not to move when your child shakes their head, but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable. It should sit level, not tilted forward or back. Check the helmet for any cracks or damage, and if a helmet has been involved in a cycling accident, do not continue to use it– buy a new one. Here is a complete guide on buying and properly sizing a child’s helmet.
Ensure Bicycles are in Good Condition
Check the tires, brakes, seat, and handlebars, and consider attaching reflectors to make them more visible to drivers.
Obey Traffic Laws
Kids should understand the importance of crossing at designated intersections only, obeying traffic laws, and staying alert for traffic, pedestrians, and other cyclists. Remind them to ride on the sidewalk if possible, and to also watch for vehicles backing out of driveways and alleyways.
Educate Your Children About Concussions
Share our concussion facts with your children and talk to them about taking the proper precautions. They shouldn’t be fearful of bicycling or participating in sports, but understanding and appreciating the risks might encourage them to be more careful.
Know the Signs
Although this may not prevent a concussion from happening, it’s important to know the symptoms and seek treatment right away to prevent the condition from worsening. Headaches, memory loss, insomnia, dizziness, fatigue, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating and performing daily routines are all symptoms to be aware of following a head injury.
Get Help Today
If your child is experiencing lingering symptoms more than 10 days after a head injury, it’s important to seek treatment. The functional neurology team at Neurohealth Services has treated many young patients, helping them fully recover and return to sports and their daily routines. Call (317) 848-6000 to schedule an evaluation today.