TBI Tragedy Strikes Georgia Community
We write today about a tragic brain injury accident that unfolded in Pike County, Georgia last week. By now, many readers are aware of the passing of a high school football player, apparently injured during a game. In a statement released by the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) it was confirmed that all precautions had been taken by the school and team to protect players. The incident leading to this high school junior’s passing is still not clear. The young man was wearing the highest-rated helmet protection. There was also no clear injury from a tackle or a player hit of any kind. In the third quarter of the game, Dylan Thomas complained of a leg injury and was ultimately taken to Grady Memorial Hospital after passing out on the sidelines. Doctors at Grady determined that he had a head injury and performed emergency surgery, but could not save his life.The sad irony is that the Dylan Thomas’ family was aware of safety concerns for players on the field. They had purchased the best helmet, but also talked about staying safe during play.
Statistics from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research indicates that in 2017, there were 13 deaths from high school football. Since four million high school students play football annually, fatalities are not common. Most of these fatalities relate to things like cardiac arrest, rather than direct hits on the field. Play and practice in hot weather for example, can lead to heat stroke and cardiac arrest. The recommendations to avoid this include ensuring players are drinking water and taking breaks.
As we have learned more about concussion and traumatic brain injury, high school, college and professional teams are taking head injury very seriously. We all want to make sure that players are protected from blows to the head, both from tackles, falls and collisions on the field.
New Guidelines for Pediatric Concussion Treatment
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control issued guidelines for treatment of children with concussion. Young patients with head injuries are now getting more attention. Young football players and soccer players can be injured in field play. This can cause mild traumatic brain injury that can result in such things as memory loss and headaches. The guidelines resulted in several key action items for medical professionals, which include:
- Pediatric patients do not need routine imaging for mild TBI.
- Medical providers should instead use symptoms to assess the injury.
- Young patients should be evaluated for concussion history, symptoms and other things to determine recovery risk factors.
- Parents and caregivers should be provided information about their child’s activity levels which should in turn be tailored to their symptoms.
- Parents and caregivers should be informed about the amount of rest needed before a child should return to sports activities.