Sports Safety

"A concussion is a brain injury; take it seriously"

Sports are a valued pastime, but playing them safely is part of the game. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nationally from 2001 through 2009 there were an estimated 173,285 emergency room visits by children ages 19 and under for traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, due to recreation and sports activities. The highest rates of injuries are among boys between ages 10 and 19. Children tend to experience more severe brain injuries and take longer to recover compared to adults and yet many times concussions in children are not diagnosed, or misdiagnosed.

The best ways to prevent brain injuries including concussions are:

  • Always play by the rules
  • Always use proper technique
  • Always use proper equipment
  • Always practice good sportsmanship

Any child suspected of having sustained a concussion should be immediately removed from play and NOT returned to play on the same day.

Download the article "A Parent's Guide to Choosing a Sports Concussion Specialist"

New Jersey Helmet Laws

Wearing a helmet for any wheeled sport can reduce the risk of severe brain injury by 85%. Anytime a helmet is in a crash it should be replaced by a new helmet. Although the law mandates helmet use for children, it is very important that anyone over the age of 17 wear helmets during wheeled activities to set a good example to children and to emphasize the importance of keeping your brain safe. Individuals under the age of 17 are required to wear a helmet while:

  • Riding a bicycle
  • Skateboarding
  • Roller skating

Read the law

Individuals under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet while skiing; Though not mandated by law individuals participating in the following sports should always wear a helmet:

  • Horseback Riding
  • Sledding
  • Snowboarding
  • Riding a scooter
  • Ice skating

Read the law

Helmets are the single most effective safety device available to reduce severe brain injury or death from sports activities.

Always wear a helmet designed for the sport you are playing; a football helmet for football, a bike helmet for biking, a ski helmet for skiing.

In order for a helmet to work properly it must fit properly:

  • The helmet should fit directly over your forehead, two fingers above your eyebrows.
  • Tighten the chinstrap to keep the helmet from slipping backward or forward. Only two fingers should fit under the chinstrap.
  • The straps of the helmet should form a ā€œVā€ under your ears when buckled.

Look for approval stickers on helmets from:

  • CPSC, Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • ANSI, American National Standards Institute
  • SNELL, Snell Memorial Fund
  • ASTM, American Society for Testing and Materials

Concussions and Sports; When in doubt, sit them OUT!

Quick Facts:

  • You do not have to lose consciousness to have a concussion; most concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness.
  • Most concussions resolve completely within a couple of weeks.
  • Concussions do NOT show up on MRIs or CT scans.
  • There is currently no device available that can prevent a concussion.
  • The best way to prevent a concussion is to PLAY BY THE RULES!

Know the Symptoms:

  • Confusion/Disorientation
  • Concentration and/or memory problems
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Feeling sluggish, or foggy
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Balance problems

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