Coffee Talk with Dr. Marco Coppola: The Full Court Press

Coffee Talk with Dr. Marco Coppola: The Full Court Press

FUCP: Good morning, Dr. Coppola! How was your weekend?

Dr. Coppola: Busy! My oldest played soccer on Saturday. They don’t keep score at this age, but I was still stressed!

FUCP: That’s funny! Since we are on the topic, spring is here and outdoor sports are in full swing. March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, so we’d like to chat about sports today and how to protect your kids from injury.

Dr. Coppola: The first thing to remember is that no matter how hard we try to keep are kids safe, they are going to get hurt one way or another. Although rare, the leading cause of death from sports-related injuries is traumatic brain injury. Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and adolescents. A traumatic brain injury is a blow to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. This can happen when the head suddenly or violently hits an object.

FUCP: Yikes! Brain injuries sound super scary! What can I do to protect my kids?

Dr. Coppola: In all probability, kids are pretty safe if parents and coaches follow the proper precautions on and off the field. Be sure to supervise your child while playing recreationally or during sports games. Make sure all helmets and equipment fit properly and that chinstraps are always snug and in place and get rid of protective gear that is damaged or that your children have outgrown.

FUCP: What are the signs of injury and what do you do if your child does get hurt?

Dr. Coppola: Signs of injury include constant or frequent headaches, a change in gross motor skills or speech difficulties. Symptoms can be appear right away or days or months after the initial injury. If you witness your child sustaining an impact, seek treatment by a medical professional immediately. Minutes count! Lastly, have open dialogue with your children about staying safe while playing. Remind them to always wear protective headgear especially when riding a bike and to notify an adult in the event of a fall, impact or injury.

FUCP: Thanks, Dr. Coppola, for getting our head straight about traumatic brain injuries.

Dr. Coppola: You’re welcome!

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