GBMC: Concussions in youth sports

Posted at 10:56 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 23:23:33-04

It’s a new sports season for kids as they head back to school. But with the new season comes the risk of new injuries.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as 1.9 million youth under the age of 18 suffer concussions annually in the United States.

We sat down with a doctor from GBMC, who says a hard hit to the head isn’t the only way to get a concussion.

“There doesn’t have to be significant impact to get a concussion. In fact, you can get a concussion without hitting your head. You can take a blow to your stomach and you can get a concussion,” says Dr. James Baronas, Family Care Physician at GBMC at Joppa Road.

Dr. Baronas says a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can cause physical and cognitive symptoms.

“Not all headaches are concussions but headaches are one of things. Sometimes vision changes, you see light sensitivity. Sometimes you see mood changes. Some, they’ll just act different or even just seem a little bit slower,” says Dr. Baronas.

And it’s important to watch out for the little ones. Dr. Baronas says younger kids are even more at risk.

He says, “A younger athlete's brain is still developing so sometimes they don’t have myelin that protects axons and neurons still developing so you’re adding greater risk to have an injury.”

The CDC says in some cases symptoms of a concussion can last for days, weeks, or longer.

"Fortunately the majority of athletes will recover with just time and rest and you know, live perfectly normal lives going forward," says Dr. Baronas.