Sports are a great way for kids to get physical activity and learn teamwork. But how vulnerable are kids’ brains when they play sports?

In many popular sports such as football, soccer or lacrosse, players may collide with each other or with the ball. How could a bump on the head affect the brain?

What Are Concussions?

Learn what concussions are and how they are diagnosed. We’ll also explore the possible consequences of concussions.

What could be done to prevent concussions? We’ll discuss the best ways to treat a head injury to minimize long-lasting damage.

This is the first of two shows on head injury and concussion.

This Week’s Guests:

Alan Finkel, MD, FAAN, FAHS, is co-founder and partner of the Carolina Headache Institute. He is also President and CEO of The Carolina Headache Foundation and a contractor for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Centers in Fort Bragg, NC. Dr. Finkel is chair of the Post-traumatic Headache Section of the American Headache Society. The photo is of Dr. Finkel.

Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC, is Kenan Distinguished Professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also Co-Director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and Director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. He has just been named Dean of the UNC College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Guskiewicz has served on NCAA’s Concussion Committee, NFL’s Head, Neck, and Spine Committee, and NFLPA’s Mackey-White Committee and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2011.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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Air Date:October 31, 2015

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  1. Gaylene

    Listening to a recent program on NPR about football injuries. They said concussions are not the injury that causes the disease football players receive but rather repeated head bumps. And, it takes 10 years for the brain problems to begin, and not all head injuries will result in the memory/cognitive problems. I think the disease is called CEI or CIE.

  2. Andrew
    Lakeland, Florida

    Your comments about girls & head injuries prompted me to write this:
    I’m a teacher. Our school is one of the few public schools in Florida that has a lacrosse team. I’m aghast that our male players wear helmets, yet are female players do not.
    I am told that lacrosse is not considered a contact sport for females. I taught a female lacrosse player who was hit in the head by the ball and suffered a traumatic brain jury as a result of that. (She was out of school for several weeks. She has recovered relatively well.)
    How do we determine which youth sports have the potential to cause brain injury and which do not?

  3. rick

    You can have a concussion from falling out of the bed. It is sort of like taking medications on one hand they may treat the symptoms on the other hand they may kill you. Team sports do three things very well the not only boost your self esteem they also boost your immune system by conditioning your body. As far as a concussion they are very rare compared to the amount of sports that are played and in all probability more people get concussion from riding their bicycles with their helmet on than they do with it off!

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