Researchers study sports-related concussions in kids

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As child brain injury continually pushes to the forefront of today’s medical news, researchers at a prominent university are pledging their commitment to limiting the number of sports-related concussions in kids. Ohio University researchers have formed a partnership with Datalys Center and USA football in hopes of uncovering safety measures to protect kids from brain injuries.

The study is currently considering younger football players, including those in the third- and fourth-grade pee wee leagues. Later samples will include middle-school children, as well, according to researchers.

This is the first head injury study that has ever been done exclusively on young football players, according to local media reports, and scientists say they are excited to find out more about the young athletes’ brains. Researchers associated with the project are also using the information to build a massive database of personal injury statistics for the National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

Those databases could allow scientists to understand co-morbid injuries among children who sustain traumatic brain injuries during sports. For example, are concussed children more likely to break their legs or injure other joints? These correlations could prove valuable for future research into child health.

The interest in traumatic brain injuries comes in the wake of increased concern because of lawsuits brought by NFL players. Those adult football players say they were not informed about the risks of head injuries. They also contend that coaches and trainers were negligent in providing care and maintaining safety standards for concussed players.

Traumatic brain injuries are indeed a source of concern for most athletes, even those involved in only mildly physical activity. Slips, trips and falls on the court of play can cause serious injuries, as can collisions with other players and stationary objects. Little is known about the long-lasting effects of concussions on youngsters, though several sports-related brain injury lawsuits are currently pending throughout the state and nation.

Source: WOUB Public Media, “OU partnering in national youth football injuries study,” Jordan Brogley Webb, Nov. 1, 2012.