Myth: Helmets are an effective way to prevent concussions
Fact: Helmets are important, but they’re better at preventing skull injuries than concussions. Concussions occur because the brain hits the inner skull, so helmets do little to prevent the brain injury. “The brain is much like a yolk in an egg shell,” says Michael Collins, PhD, director of the University of Pittsburgh Sports Medicine Concussion Program. “A helmet can’t prevent the brain from moving inside the skull.” While helmets are still necessary protection from injury, make sure your kids don’t assume their heads are totally protected inside. Some athletes, under the false assumption that their brain is safe under a helmet, actually up their risk of concussion by using their head as a weapon in sports, Dr. Collins says. Here’s why you should never buy a helmet at a garage sale.
Myth: My kid can deal with the concussion after the game
Fact: Taking injured kids out of a sports game will help them recover quicker, and thus get them back on the field even sooner. In fact, Dr. Collins’ most recent study, printed in the journal Pediatrics, found that the average recovery time for sports-related concussions was twice as long for kids who kept playing after their injury as those who were removed from the game or practice. “Even though on average they played for 20 minutes, that group of kids had far worse outcomes than those taken out immediately,” he says. “If they’re treated properly and don’t return to play until recovery occurs, we can usually get kids safely back to play.” Here are other health problems you should treat immediately.