A concussion or mild traumatic brain injury is one of the most commonly reported injuries in organized youth sports. It can exist without losing consciousness and symptoms can last minutes, days, months, or longer. So, it is important to recognize them and get treatment right away. CDC has developed Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports — a free tool kit to help youth sports coaches, parents, and athletes recognize and respond to concussion symptoms. Visit www.cdc.gov/concussioninyouthsports. Created: 7/27/2007 by MMWR.
Date Released: 7/27/2007. Series Name: A Cup of Health with CDC.
A CUP OF HEALTH WITH CDC
Nonfatal Traumatic Brain Injuries from Sports and Recreation Activities —
United States, 2001–2005
July 27, 2007
[Announcer] This podcast is presented by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC- safer, healthier, people.
[Matthew Reynolds] Welcome to A Cup of Health with CDC, a weekly
of the MMWR, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. I’m your host,
About 38 million children and adolescents participate in organized sports every
year in the United States, and over 170 million adults participate in some type
nonwork-related physical activity. We are bombarded with TV and radio
messages touting the health benefits of staying physically active. But these
activities also come with a risk, a risk for injury including traumatic brain
TBI. Today I will be talking with Dr. Julie Gilchrist, a physician in CDC’s
Unintentional Injury Prevention Division. She is here to talk to us more about
traumatic brain injury in sports and recreation. Dr. Gilchrist, welcome to the
[Julie Gilchrist] Thanks for having me.
[Matthew Reynolds] Dr. Gilchrist, what is traumatic brain injury?
[Julie Gilchrist] Traumatic brain injuries, like concussions,
are caused by a
bump or blow to the head or the body that can cause the brain to bang inside
skull. These injuries can change the way the brain works and even a ding or
seems to be a mild blow can be serious.
[Matthew Reynolds] Can you give us an idea of how big of a
problem TBI is
within sports and recreation?
[Julie Gilchrist] Well, each year, almost 208,000 people are
emergency departments for traumatic brain injury from participation in sports
recreation, and kids 5 to 18 years of age account for almost two thirds of these
visits, and beyond that, the highest rates are in boys and girls 10 to 14 years.
[Matthew Reynolds] Which sports or activities had the highest
number of TBIrelated
emergency department visits?
[Julie Gilchrist] TBI can occur in any sport or recreational
activity, but we found
the greatest number of emergency department visits for TBI in kids 5 to 18 years
are from bicycling, football, basketball, playground activities, and soccer.
these are also the common activities with many participants, so we can’t
they are the riskiest activities.
[Matthew Reynolds] You mentioned some relatively popular
sports like football,
basketball, soccer. Were there other sports or recreation activities that stood
[Julie Gilchrist] Well since we don’t have the participation
information to directly
compare activities, we compared the proportion of all injuries seen in emergency
departments for an activity that are TBI. For instance, more than one tenth
injuries in horseback riding that were treated in the emergency department
involved traumatic brain injury, and that’s a high proportion. Other activities
high proportion of TBI among kids, included ice skating, riding all-terrain
hockey, and tobogganing or sledding.
[Matthew Reynolds] Should parents or coaches be concerned about
effects of a TBI?
[Julie Gilchrist] Certainly. TBIs can cause a wide range of
changes in how the
brain works and it can affect thinking, language, learning, emotions, and even
behavior, and this important in growing children. Kids who return to play too
soon—while their brains are still healing from a concussion—risk
second concussion, and second concussions can be very serious. They can
cause permanent brain damage and affect you for a lifetime.
[Matthew Reynolds] Well let’s say then that I am a coach
or a parent who has a
child playing a sport, and during the course of play they take a hit to the
What should I be on the lookout for?
[Julie Gilchrist] Well, you can’t see a concussion and
some athletes may not
notice or tell you about symptoms until hours or days after the injury. They
seem dazed or confused, they may not be able to recall things around the time
the injury, they may seem more emotional, depressed or even easily angered,
and these can last from several minutes to weeks or even months. It’s
to recognize the signs and symptoms and to get treatment right away.
Remember, a concussion can exist even if you haven’t been knocked out
[Matthew Reynolds] What is CDC doing to help prevent sports-related
[Julie Gilchrist] Concussions and other brain injuries can
occur in any type of
sport or recreational activity, and since some activities have medical staff
field, CDC has created the tool kit targeting physicians, called “Heads
Injury in Your Practice,” with a palm card with a lot of the signs and
useful information, and action steps for physicians. Additionally, CDC has
created a new tool kit called “Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports,”
which is to
help coaches, parents, and athletes learn the signs and symptoms and the action
steps to take when a concussion is suspected.
[Matthew Reynolds] If people want this tool kit, where should
they go to get it?
[Julie Gilchrist] The kit can be ordered free-of-charge by
visiting CDC’s website
at: www.cdc.gov/ConcussionInYouthSports - all one word.
This tool kit we hope will be helpful since youth sports coaches – they’re
front line in the effort to identify and respond to TBI, and they’ll play
role in sharing this information with athletes and their parents.
The tool kit actually contains fact sheets for the coaches, the athletes, and
parents in both English and Spanish, as well as a clipboard, magnets, and a
poster with concussion facts.
[Matthew Reynolds] Well Dr. Gilchrist, thank you for taking
the time to talk to us
[Julie Gilchrist] I am delighted to be here.
[Matthew Reynolds] That’s for this week’s show.
Don’t forget to join us next
week. Until then, be well. This is Matthew Reynolds for A Cup of Health with
[Announcer] To access the most accurate and relevant health
information that affects you, your
family and your community, please visit www.cdc.gov.