Concussion in sport has been much in the news lately following a number of incidents in the recent football World Cup, and the British Softball Federation thinks that more awareness of the issue in softball and baseball would be a good thing – particularly where youth players are concerned.
Concussion is a brain injury caused by direct or indirect force to the head. It results in a variety of non-specific signs and/or symptoms and most often does not involve loss of consciousness. Most people recover in a few days but recovery can take longer for children and young people.
Concussion in young players has been much discussed in Scotland since the tragic death of a young rugby player, Benjamin Robinson, in January 2011, as a result of second impact syndrome and concussion.
While softball and baseball rarely produce the kinds if collisions found in rugby or football, concussion can still arise where players are hit in the head by a pitch or throw or when collisions between baserunners and fielders occur or two fielders going for the same ball.
Sir Harry Burns, The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, says: “We do not yet know everything there is to know about concussion – however, we do know that all concussion should be taken seriously, particularly in children and young people who are at the greatest risk from sport-related concussion. Any young person suspected of having concussion should be immediately removed from the activity, medically assessed and should not return to play until they have received medical clearance. The message around concussion is simple: if in doubt, sit them out!”
In an attempt to raise awareness of the issue in youth sport and physical activity, the Scottish government has now issued a useful leaflet that details how to identify the signs of concussion and what to do about it.
The leaflet can be found here, and is worth reading by umpires and players alike.