Thursday, May 10, 2012

Concussions are NOT Limited to Just Football and Boys

NBC's Rock Center recently aired an interview with Allison Kasacavage, a young, athletic 15 year old who is now sitting on the sidelines of her favorite sport--soccer--recovering from a concussion.  Below are excerpts of the interview/article. To read the entire piece and view the interview at Rockcenter.msnbc.  

The Facts
"She is one of hundreds of girls across America each year who suffer concussions while playing soccer. With the steady popularity of youth soccer, more girls are playing the game than ever before.  Girls make up 48 percent of the more than 3 million kids registered in US Youth Soccer leagues. The number of girls suffering concussions in soccer accounts for the second largest amount of all concussions reported by young athletes, according to the American Journal of Sports Medicine.  (Football tops the list.)"

Allison's Concussions
"Allison still remembers when she suffered her first serious concussion in October 2008.  It came when she collided with another player on the field. “When I like got up, my head was like pounding,” Allison said. “There was, like, a pulse in my head. It was like the strangest thing.  There was a heartbeat in my head and I had no idea what it was and why it was there.  I have never felt that before and I was just so confused,” she said."

"After Allison had apparently healed from the concussion, she returned to soccer.  She’d been a star player since she was six years old, working her way up to one of the top teams in Pennsylvania.  She said that her identity had been wrapped up in the game and she felt pressure to please her coaches.
Allison said that she was nervous about heading the ball, but continued to do it.
“If you didn’t head the ball, you were like the weakest link,” Allison said."

"When heading, players attempt to use their foreheads to direct the ball, often jumping with opposing players, a move that can lead to collisions between players, bumped heads and strained necks. "

"Her parents said that they knew about the danger of concussions in sports like football, but it wasn’t until Allison had her first serious head injury that they realized what a big problem concussions can be in soccer. “I think that we were blind to what was going on around us because, yes, it was about the team.  It was about the winning. It was about all the, it was almost like a routine of, like I said, an awful lot of practices and you just went through it and really your lives rolled by with soccer being the most important thing,” said Lex Kasacavage, Allison’s father."

Help for Parents
Many medical professionals and schools are discussing what preventative measures can be taken for injuries like Allison's. Dr. Rosemarie Scolaro Moser, a hockey mom, neuropsychologist, and Director of the Sports Concussion Center in New Jersey, has recently released a book to help parents.  Ahead of The Game: The Parents' Guide to Youth Sports Concussion provides parents with plain facts on how to identify, manage, and treat concussions. Parents will learn the steps THEY can make to protect their children.

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