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What can schools do to reduce brain injuries in sports?

Whitney Houston said it best when she sang, in 1985, "I believe the children are our future." It's as true then as it is now. But while Ms. Houston was likely referring to guiding children towards success, her message is still applicable when we think about finding ways of reducing their risk of suffering long-lasting injuries, such as brain injuries, as well.

Take for example sports-related injuries involving the head. As we have said before in other posts, multiple strikes to the head can have a profound effect on a person's life down the road. Some believe that if we as a society do not continue to come up with ways to prevent such injuries from occurring, we aren't giving children the best future they could have.

So what can schools do to reduce brain injuries in sports? Let's take a look.

In football, coaches and team staff can become more educated about concussions so that they can recognize them faster and intervene with a student athlete more readily. The Centers for Disease Control urges sports teams to create action plans that "ensure that concussions are identified early and managed correctly."

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is also taking steps for its members by updating rules to accommodate new studies regarding brain injuries. In the last few years, changes have been made to rules in sports like football and hockey to reduce the chances of getting hit in the head. In hockey for example, players are heavily penalized and thrown out of a game if they make direct contact with the head or neck of another player.

If schools continue to stay educated about the long-term effects of concussions and continue to take steps to help players avoid these injuries, then they will be giving our children the best future they can, which is a future unhindered by a debilitating brain injury that could have been prevented.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control, "What Can I Do to Prevent Concussions?" Accessed Jan. 23, 2015

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, "Ice Hockey 2014-15 and 2015-16 Rules and Interpretations," Accessed Jan. 23, 2015

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