March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and it’s important to remember that “bump on the head” can be so much more. Today, we have a guest blog by State Senator Shannon Jones about the dangers associated with traumatic brain injury.
More than bump on the head
Guest blogger, State Senator Shannon Jones
As the weather slowly but surely begins to warm up, our children will be heading back outside to ride their bikes and practice for spring sports leagues. The increase in outdoor activity reminds all of us as parents, coaches, referees, and athletes to educate ourselves about the dangers of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
A TBI is a blow, jolt, or bump to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. 475,000 children sustain a TBI in the United States every year, and an overwhelming majority of these injuries are caused by something as simple as a fall. Nearly 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other mild forms of TBI yet the frequency is on the rise. According to a study conducted by the Ohio Department of Health, the number of youth athletes in Ohio who visited emergency rooms for sports-related TBIs increased 142% from 2002 to 2009. After hearing this fact, with my own kids in mind, I knew that I needed to learn more and do more to help prevent and address these injuries.
In response to these alarming statistics, last year the General Assembly passed House Bill 143, which set procedures for youth sports coaches and athletes to follow when a head injury is suspected. I am proud to say that this bill passed unanimously in the Senate. This law will go into effect in April of this year. Under this law:
- Coaches and referees will be required to remove athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion from practice or play
- Coaches and referees will be required to complete a free online training course in youth concussion management every three years
- Young athletes will be prohibited from returning to practice or play until they are assessed and cleared by a doctor or other authorized licensed healthcare provider.
This spring, please make sure that you and your kids are informed about staying safe when playing with friends or participating in organized sports. A little bit of education and extra care can help our kids avoid a serious injury.
For more information on TBIs and Brain Injury Awareness Month visit the Brain Injury Association of American’s website at www.biausa.org.