Advice for Parents

Parents guide to preventing and dealing with concussions in sports

1. Educate yourself. Before your child gets a head injury, familiarize yourself with all the symptoms of concussions.

2. Follow Prevention Technique.  Make sure your child’s coaches are educated about prevention or Prehab. They will teach athletes techniques that will prevent players from leading with their heads as they tackle in football; how to properly head the ball in soccer, and their baseball coaches are teaching kids how to slide safely.

3. Have the right equipment. Helmets and shoes and other clothing should fit properly.  Equipment go only so far in protecting children from concussions, but it’s still important for equipment to be well-maintained, fit correctly and to be used properly.

4. Have access to a concussion expert. Don’t assume it’s there. If your school doesn’t have a physical therapist or a trainer, start a campaign to get one. Healthcare professionals have expertise about sports injuries that many coaches lack, and they also provide a more objective opinion about whether an athlete needs to sit out. That’s especially important for concussions, which are far more difficult to diagnose and to assess in terms of recovery.

5. Assess coach’s attitude. Make sure your child’s coach has the right attitude about concussions. If your coach takes a light approach about concussions, it’s time to talk to administration about the school’s potential liability. Some coaches still see concussions as something athletes can tough out. Also, as a parent, champion the importance of good sportsmanship and strict officiating.

6. Follow size and talent recommendations. Be careful about putting your child in a situation where they are competing against much larger competitors. Make sure your child is in a league appropriate to his or her size and talents. Among the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Pay attention to strength and conditioning.”


1. Contact pediatrician. In the event of a head injury, call your pediatrician, especially if your child starts complaining about nausea, dizziness, inability to concentrate, headaches and has difficulty falling asleep or sleeping more than usual.

2. Use common sense. For example, delay entry into tackle football. Have your child play flag football for as long as possible. The more you prevent repeated head coalition the less chance for complications. Current research is very inconclusive about long term effects of head trauma especially because some folks think there is such a thing as “minor” head trauma or “sub concussive” injury.

3. Fully recover prior to returning to sports. If the child does sustain a concussion, make sure he or she is fully recovered before returning to play.  All athletes should be symptom-free for a week before they return to competition. That means that they have been evaluated by a healthcare professional and tested to be free of symptoms not only based on what is reported by the athlete.  There is a process – Rehabilitation.

Contact Concussion Management of New York for consultation and a 5 day rehabilitation program as recommended by the Center for Disease Control, CDC.                              Your child is not safe to return to sports unless he or she has proven they are safe. Don’t skip the most important aspect of a complete recovery plan. Call 212 717 8331

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2 thoughts on “Advice for Parents

  1. This is similar to the hydatrion issue with the death of the NFL player that forced an increased awareness that trickled down to kids. The problem with concussions is that some kids either won’t recognize or won’t want to come out of a game if they have experienced some form of head trauma. In youth football kids are taught to lower their shoulders but keep their head up easy to say but not always easy to do.

  2. Good luck to you Zach. You had a great career and slhoud be very proud. Though my career was nothing like yours, I too had no regrets till I hit about 50 (last year). Due to my 8 football related brain surgeries, my life is a constant battle to just stay on top of things. My head injuries and brain surgeries were not a big deal while I was single, but since I married and started a family in 1997 (at age 37), I have been fighting more and more demons each year. In an attempt to try to improve my ever worsening memory, they started me on TWO dementia medicines within the last few months. Arricept (which didn’t produce the results they wanted), so they stacked Naminda on top of it. I am a wildlife biologist, environmental consultant and run my own business, and slhoudn’t have to be battling dementia at age 51 on top of it all. George VisgerSF 49ers 80 & 81

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