Concussions and children

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 4:14 pm | Updated: 4:42 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

Many parents worry about dangerous head injuries with good reason. As many as 10-percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport season.

What you don't know about this common injury could put your child at risk.

Hollie Byer knows what it's like to play with pain. She's suffered four concussions! I remember just feeling so nauseous after the game."

The injuries have worried her mom. "I think about it even before she goes on the field, the night before she goes on the field."

Doctor Kevin Crutchfield says there are many myths about concussions parents should know. The first? You have to lose consciousness to get one. "That's not true at all. You don't even have to hit your head to have a concussion."

Another: If someone has a concussion, you should keep them awake. In fact, Doctor Crutchfield says sleeping -- or resting the brain -- is best for healing. The next myth - everyone who hits their head needs a brain scan. In fact, for kids radiation from a scan can be more dangerous than a head injury. "Their risk of having a surgical lesion and having to go to the or is dramatically less than your child developing thyroid cancer from the exposure to radiation."

Helmets protect against concussions, right? Wrong! They're designed only to prevent skull fractures. "A helmet can never stop the brain from shaking inside the head."

The last myth: Boys get more concussions than girls. Actually, the rates are similar among the sexes. But symptoms may vary. Boys experience things like balance problems, while girls suffer fatigue or low energy after a concussion.

Hollie knows the dangers - but she can't stay away from the game she loves. "I'm not really afraid to be out on that field because I think that's where I was meant to be."

She hopes to make it through this season injury-free!

Football is the riskiest sport for concussions among males, while soccer is the riskiest among females. Some non-contact sports such as gymnastics, cheerleading and swimming... Also pose a risk.

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