For Your Family: Concussions in young athletes

January 23, 2012 5:45:59 AM PST
In Monday morning's For Your Family report, a word of caution for parents of young athletes, especially hockey players: The rate of concussions in children is rising at a dramatic rate.

Some doctors in the Chicago area say they are seeing the highest number of concussions in youth hockey players this year than ever before, and the concussion rate for a young player is nearly as high as professional players.

Dr. Jeff Mjaanes specializes in pediatric and adult sports medicine at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

Because a young player's brain is still developing, their brain:

- is more susceptible to a concussion
-is more likely to suffer long-term effects
- takes longer to recover
- is more likely to have a repeat concussion
- is harder to diagnose

Typical signs of concussions

Your child may have a concussion:
-if child suffers a blow then develops symptoms such as headache, dizziness, etc.
-if child develops worsening headache, persistent vomiting, true lethargy, you should take child to the emergency room for evaluation as the injury may be more serious

Something else parents should know: After your child suffers a concussion, they obviously have to stop playing for a while, but while they're recovering, it can also have an impact on their school work and how much they can study.

There is a tool to help with the diagnoses of concussions that families should know about, it's a base-line testing that they can do. A local organization is offering free base-line testing for young hockey players for the next two weeks. More information at