My Tucson: Guard against brain trauma
Numbskull. Bullheaded. Thickheaded. You’d think our skulls were hard as rock, to hear the epithets we sling around.
But such name-calling lulls us into a false sense of security. We seem to think our heads – and those of our children – can take plenty of abuse.
Sadly, not always so. That bone protecting your extremely delicate brain has its limitations. And children’s developing brains are even more vulnerable than yours and mine.
TBI stands for traumatic brain injury. Concussion. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us the plain facts:
“A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head. It can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. It can occur without loss of consciousness.
“All concussions are serious.”
Spring is here, and the desert is filling with ATVs. The weather’s perfect for bicycles, skateboards and horseback riding. And doctors in emergency rooms all over town dread the preventable head injuries that will be wheeled in their doors.
You’d think by now nobody would ever get in a car without making sure everyone’s properly buckled up.
You’d think no parent would allow a child to take off on a bike (or horse, skates, skateboard or snowboard) without a helmet.
But unbelievably, some do. Ever heard of Britney Spears?
These are the real numbskulls, folks.
The CDC has advice for parents, coaches and students after a blow to the head that causes headache, nausea and balance or other problems.
Whether the symptoms happen right away or later on, “never ignore a blow to the head. Don’t hide it. Get it checked out medically. Take time to recover.”
This goes for any team sport more active than competitive Scrabble.
And why take time to recover? Because after a first head injury in sports, a second one is far more likely to happen. And a second or later injury can cause permanent brain damage.
Make no mistake. Severe brain injury can change your whole life.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says children under 16 should not use ATVs. Period.
Many safety organizations recommend a ban on backyard trampolines.
Granted, some of these stands will be unpopular with your kids. Well, nobody said responsible parenting would be easy.
Look at it this way: “No, you may not ride your friend’s ATV” is a far better parent-child exchange to have than, “Can you remember your name?”
Kids don’t have the benefit of life experience to give them pause when they hop in the back of their buddy’s pickup for a joyride or try a helmetless McTwist on a backyard half-pipe.
So parents, it’s up to you. Step up to the plate and exercise your authority. Prevent the preventable injuries.
Hardheaded. Headstrong. Independence in a growing child is a fine trait. But remember to protect his or her uniquely brain-wired personality into adulthood.
Ask yourself honestly how safe your child’s activity is. It’s a better question than “Honey, do you know who I am?”