It’s March Madness time, and fans everywhere are watching their favorite basketball teams tear up the court. However, few people realize the risks associated with this popular sport.
When most people think of concussions and traumatic brain injury in contact sports, football or hockey comes to mind. Unfortunately, football is not the only sport capable of causing these serious conditions. In fact, according to CBS News, a Pediatrics Magazine report from 2010 showed that 375,000 children were sent to the emergency room with injuries related to basketball each year. The same report also found a 70 percent increase in basketball-related traumatic brain injuries over the last ten years.
CBS News also reports that researchers are now taking steps to better understand the risks basketball poses to the brain. At the University of New Haven, players on the men’s basketball team now wear headbands equipped with Triax head sensors. These sensors collect data about the g-forces associated with any hits players take to the head. These data are then transmitted to computer software that stores and manages them. Using these data, the trainers can determine which players took hits to the head during the practice, as well as the strength of each hit. When the season is complete, data will be transmitted to the Sports Legacy Institute for further review.
To prevent complications from traumatic brain injury on the court:
• Know the signs of concussion, which may include headache, nausea, dizziness, balance problems and sensitivity to light.
• Have a professional evaluate any known head injury immediately.
• Allow a person who has suffered a concussion to rest, both physically and mentally, before returning to his or her normal activity.
Is your child involved in contact sports? Understanding concussion risks is important: Comprehensive Pediatric Concussion Guidelines Released by Canadian & US Pediatric Emergency Medicine Researchers.