Athletes protect your heads in January and all year
What: With the Super Bowl approaching and football, basketball and hockey seasons in full swing, sports enthusiasts may have nothing on their minds but their favorite teams and how well they’re doing. But sports can be physically traumatic on a person, both on professional and amateur athletes. January presents a time for athletes to be more aware of damage, such as brain injury, during Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month.
Background: According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur each year. Out of head injuries that are seen by hospital emergency departments, an estimated 173, 285 are sports and recreation-related. In the last decade the frequency of head injuries seen in sports and recreation has increased by 60 percent.
Story Pitch: There are a number of groups and organizations that can take advantage of Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month. Little league teams, in football, hockey and basketball, will want to make sure parents are aware of the incidents of traumatic brain injuries. In addition, professional sports teams may want to raise awareness, citing the incidents of brain injuries in professional players and offering tips on how to avoid injuries through best safety practices. Pediatricians may promote the importance of brain safety awareness, checking that all parents and their children are alerted to the hazards of playing sports without proper safety equipment. Meanwhile, sports retailers and manufacturers can promote new sports equipment and the benefits of staying safe while out on the field or court.
Story Hook: According to the CDC, almost half a million emergency room visits for traumatic brain injury occur each year among children ages 0 to 14. Consider the following when making your pitch:
- What are the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries?
- What type of safety equipment is best for a young football, basketball or hockey player?
- Is the incidence of traumatic brain injury higher for women or men?
- Which sports hold the highest brain-related injury rates?
Tips: A neurologist who deals specifically with sports-related traumatic brain injuries could weigh in on the importance of proper safety gear. In addition, a parent who has a child in a heavy contact sport, such as football or hockey, can also shed light on safety equipment used during sports.
American Academy of Neurology
American Neurological Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Johnny O Alzheimer’s, Dementia and TBI Awareness Foundation
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