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Brain injuries: Concern re undiagnosed concussions in children

A neurosurgeon from Toronto recently spoke to health care professionals, local coaches, athletes and representatives of sports organizations about the prevalence of concussions among active schoolchildren in Ontario. He expressed his concern about the fact that many injuries among participants in school sports suffer concussions that are not recognized as brain injuries. He notes that the correct response to sport-related concussions is essential.

The doctor says many concussions are seen as insignificant, cases of moments of 'seeing stars' and then getting right back to play. Some victims are given a few days of rest, but in many cases, they are expected to get over it immediately. The problem is the fact that concussions are invisible injuries, and no technology is yet available for immediate diagnosis of a concussion. Clinical diagnosis relies on the injured child to report nausea, headaches, light and noise sensitivity to their parents, coaches or doctors.

Many avoid reporting the symptoms for fear of losing their places on the teams, and very often, only those who lose consciousness are properly diagnosed and treated. The neurosurgeon says that those who are involved with children on the sports fields must learn about the long-term consequences of concussions. Parents must teach their children to recognize the symptoms of brain injuries and to report them.

Coaches and other sports authorities can be held responsible for the medical expenses and other damages suffered by children who are sent back onto the ice rink or sports field with concussions. Parents can consult with an Ontario personal injury lawyer who has experience in fighting for the rights of those who suffered brain injuries that could have been prevented. The lawyer can assess the circumstances and explain the available legal options.

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