Brain Doc Suggests Concussion Prevention
HensonFuerst frequently write blogs about concussion, but Dr. Robert Cantu, neurologist and medical director of the Nation Center for Catastrophic Sports and Injury Research in Boston, has a new set of recommendations for parents and sports coaches.
Because a child’s brain isn’t fully developed, any trauma has the potential to be more damaging than trauma to an adult brain. In addition, Dr. Cantu says children tend to lack the neck strength to reduce the acceleration forces the brain will receive. As a result, he said, children who play youth sports may be at more risk than adults realize.
According to an article from U-T San Diego, Dr. Cantu’s recommendations are:
- No heading in soccer until age 14.
- Require chin straps in baseball; ban the headfirst slide.
- No bodychecking in youth hockey before 14.
- No full-contact football until age 14.
- Eliminate head-to-head hitting in Pop Warner (youth football).
- Reduce the contact allowed in football practice.
- Have children perform exercises to strengthen neck muscles.
- Require helmets in field hockey and girls lacrosse.
These guidelines may change the way youth sports are played, but that’s better than having to watch the outcomes of concussions.