The recent suicide of a University of Pennsylvania student was a shock, and when it was suggested that head trauma from sports may have triggered a brain disorder, it clearly sounded an alert.

Estimates of sports-related brain injuries suffered by those of all ages range from 1.6 million to 3.8 million annually, according to an article in Education Week and the September issue of Pediatrics revealed that visits to the emergency room of kids 8-19 doubled from 1997-2007.

The riskiest sport is football, followed by soccer, lacrosse, ice hockey and cheerleading with
ice hockey causing most accidents for girls. But, reporting is not always accurate. Students may be hesitant to mention injuries because they want to keep on playing and the medical staff at games may not recognize critical problems.

Representative Timothy Bishop of New York, part of the House Education and Labor Committee, is sponsoring a bill requiring schools to develop a plan for concussion safety and management. An “if in doubt, sit it out” clause and support for student athletes recovering from concussions as they return to school to play are included.

Reported By: Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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