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Advocates Help Coaches Protect Young Athletes

By Staff | Mar 17, 2010

March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. West Virginia Advocates Inc. is providing tool kits developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention entitled Heads Up:

Concussion in Youth Sports and Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports to administrators, coaches, and professionals in every middle school, high school, and YMCA in West Virginia.

The CDC developed these tool kits, with the help of an array of experts, to help youth sports administrators and coaches recognize and respond to concussion in youth sports.

The kits are also available to anyone interesting in them free of charge at the CDC Web site at http://www.cdc. gov/ncipc/tbi/TBI.htm.

Many of us think of “getting your bell rung” as an inevitable part of playing sports-as a minor event in the life of an athlete. However, the risks associated with concussions are significant for all athletes, both young and old.

Concussion is a trauma-induced change in mental status, with confusion and amnesia, and with or without a brief loss of consciousness.

According to the CDC, approximately 300,000 people sustain mild to moderate sports-related brain injuries each year, most of them young men between 16 and 25.

Increased awareness of the dangers of concussions led the NFL, in December 2009, to issue new rules regarding the management of concussions on the field.

The dangers of concussions are no less significant for young athletes than for these professionals.

Concussions can result in serious long-term effects and repeat concussions significantly worsen long-term outcomes.

West Virginia is the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy System for the State of West Virginia.

Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI) was enacted in 2000 as an amendment to the Public Health Act.

PATBI advocates work with individuals with TBI, their families, and other stakeholders to develop their self-advocacy skills and to ensure that needed services are available throughout the state.

WVA also provides outreach and education to citizens of West Virginia to increase their awareness of TBI, the risks of TBI, and prevention measures.