Physical activity is an essential part of being healthy. In children, activity helps build strong bones and muscles, decreases the likelihood of developing obesity, and promotes positive mental health. Children are recommended to have 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.
In the United States, more than 30 million children and teens participate in sports. Of that number, approximately 3.5 million children and adolescents ages fourteen and under are hurt annually while participating in recreational activities. In 2002, The National Safe Kids Campaign estimated that 13,700 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for ice skating related injuries. Many of these are preventable head injuries if protective equipment, such as helmets or halos, is used.
Gliding across the ice, with the cool wind whipping across a skater’s face is an exhilarating feeling. One push can propel a skater far down the glistening, snowy surface. Worrying about a head injury is often far from a skater’s mind, as many participants are not aware of the possibility of head injury from ice skating. The goals of this article are to raise awareness about potential head injury from ice skating and to promote the use of helmets in skating, similar to what is required in cycling, skiing, and ice hockey.
Review of Injury Statistics
A concussion is a mild form of head injury, usually due to a blow to the head, which may cause disorientation, memory loss, or unconsciousness. Repeated concussions and loss of consciousness can result in traumatic brain injury or TBI.
An estimated 10% of all head and spinal cord injuries are due to sports related activities. Socially, athletes can feel undue pressure from family, coaches, and teammates to return to play quickly after a head injury. These influences can prevent an athlete from receiving the medical care he or she requires. In particular, parents and coaches can push their children too hard in an attempt to fulfill their own athletic aspirations. Athletes who return to play too soon or who suffer repeated injury to the head can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, whose symptoms can include slowed speech, confusion, tremors, and mental deterioration. Most recently, CTE gained media attention when a settlement was reached with the National Football League, or NFL and thousands of players and families. The case, which involved more than 4,500 plaintiffs, calls for the NFL to pay for medical exams, compensation, and research related to head injuries sustained while playing professional football. Plaintiffs are committed to making the game safer at all levels and to educate the public; including parents of the four million children who play youth and high school football. Plaintiffs are committed to helping the focus on player safety trickle down to the youth level.
Awareness and education are key factors in injury prevention and return to play decisions. When an athlete suffers a head injury, a sideline assessment using the Standardized Assessment of Concussion should be completed by a medical professional. If a physician is not available, the coach …