In the spectrum of injuries that can occur in snowboarding, head injuries can result in the most devastating consequences. Kevin Pierce’s fall and resulting head injury while training for the 2010 Olympics is a good reminder of this. Wearing a proper helmet has been shown to drastically reduce the risk of head injuries in snowboarding. It is important to realize that in order for a helmet to work properly it must fit properly and be taken care of properly. Many of the snowboard helmets available today are designed as “single use” helmets. Meaning that after a “hard” fall, the helmet should be carefully and inspected for cracks etc, and often needs to be replaced (www.lidsonkids.org/). Concussions have gained more media attention recently in professional sports for good reason: a concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are not limited just to football and hockey, but can happen in snowboarding as well. Concussions can occur without loss of consciousness, so it is important to monitor your child or friend for changes in behavior for the first few days after a hard fall in which they hit their head. Symptoms of a concussion include confusion, memory loss, impaired concentration, dizziness, headache, “ringing” in the ears, nausea, and mood changes. If you do notice behavior changes, or loss of consciousness did occur, your child/friend should be examined by a physician, no matter how short the “black out” time was. No athlete who has a suspected concussion should be allowed to return to competition or practice until a medical professional has cleared him or her, as a second blow to the head in someone who has sustained a concussion can have severe consequences. For more information on concussions check out the following website: http://www.cdc.gov/concussioninYouthSports/ and/or contact your physician.
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