What parents should know about a new survey on concussions and sports

Dr. Jennifer Ashton discusses the major findings from a comprehensive new survey on concussions and sports.
6:09 | 08/18/17

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Transcript for What parents should know about a new survey on concussions and sports
Tell her we said hello. Now a parenting alert and important new survey taking a closer look at parents' awareness of concussion risks and sports and how it's affecting the decision to let their kids play. Linsey Davis is here and has all the details. Reporter: Good morning. This new survey by the barrow neurological institute a leader in studying concussions and with this new research comes a new warning about youth sports and concussion risks. The message that while many parents view football as dangerous, parents need to be aware that other sports also pose a concussion risk as well. It's the all-American sport known for hard hits and jarring blows. Traumatic brain injuries and indense of chronic traumatic encephalopathy among football place de catalunya are increasingly making headlines. Now researchers at the barrow neurological toutant in Arizona want parents to know concussions aren't limited to the gridiron. In a new survey conducted by the institute, 85% of parents say they would permit their kids to participate in any contact sport. This is actually a significant increase from last year of 69%. Reporter: And while only two-thirds of parents say they would allow their child to play football, nine of ten parents were fine letting their child take part in soccer, even though girls' soccer has the highest rate of concussion of any teen sport. The greatest rise of that participation is actually in girls sports. The number one increase is actually in cheer. Reporter: Alexa kiaza was one of those cheerleaders. I couldn't read, I couldn't write. I couldn't have a light on in the house. Reporter: The 16-year-old was treated at the barrow institute after three concussions ended her seven years as a cheerleader. I had extremely bad pain in my legs. My headaches got progressively worse and I slept 15 to 20 hours a day. That was really hard. Reporter: Alexa's mom Lisa says after the third concussion it was time to pull both of her daughters from the sport. To tell her that you are done was the worst thing I think I've ever had to say to my kids. I know it took a while for football to get helmets in place and now it's time for cheer. Reporter: Alexa and her mom says even the best cheerleading teams don't have the athletic trainers that football teams that can spot the symptoms of a concussion. At first she didn't realize she was experiencing concussion symptoms but now hope kids will become more aware of what to look for to determine if they have a concussion. Especially in a sport like cheerleading it's not always the first thing to look for. We have to be. Thanks. Want to bring in Dr. Jen Ashton and this is about awareness but there were thing that is stood out. Listen, I think the good news is awareness is up. The not so great news fear is also up and I think when you start to see parents deciding to pull their kids out of any athletic participation, I think that's not such a good thing and I think linsey hit something really, really important. Concussions and traumatic brain injury is not just a football problem. It can occur in literally any sport. It can occur at home falling out of bed. I've seen patients with that and I think we need to remember that this is just a global issue here. It's not just about one sport. You're right, linsey brought up some excellent points and I know you enjoy it and busting myths. That you have to black out and lose consciousness to have a concussion is ridiculous. The second one, you have to hit your head to have a concussion. It makes sense to think that but that's not true. Remember, a concussion is your brain hitting the inside of your skull and the worst concussions oftentimes occur with a rotational hit so the head spinning around, you might not actually hit your head and then the last one is about symptoms. If you don't have a headache, you don't have a concussion. We have to hit this hard, you guys. There are about 20 symptoms of concussion. We tend to organize them in four categories, physical, emotional, sleep reeled and then what we call cognitive. Take a look at the physical symptoms here. Yes, headache is the most common. But you can have nausea. You have can have dizziness and fatigue and balance issues. When you go to the emotional, emotional lability, more tearful, jittery, nervous is a big one. Sleep related. We tend not to think of. That can be having trouble sleeping, sleeping more or sleeping less and then lastly, cognitive. You will see this in teenage athletes. They will have difficulty remembering and have a mental fog. Difficulty in school. That can be a glaring symptom, so I think that is the key we have expand what we're looking for. Sometimes there's not a headache but the other stuff. Lastly, you know, younger people. A lot think they're resilient and young brains will bounce back. This is important? We think the young brain is more susceptible so we need to follow this 50, 60 years down the road. I love your daughter, Chloe, 17 years old. She's a fierce ice hockey player. That's right. As a mom and daughter how do you balance it. This is our world. You know, she's been playing a contact sport since she was 5 years old and to be clear she used to play with the boys where there was full contact body checking so have this on our radar. I think the value especially for girls of learning the strength and power of being an athlete, that is invaluable. But I want parents to also understand a very important thing when you're at that rink or the feel or the court, coa coahes and certified athletic trainers do an amazing job but they're watching so many place de catalunya. Ke -- players. You know how they skate and get up. If something is wrong and they might be impaired you will be the first one -- I remember my mom pulling me out of a basketball game. Nope, she knew something and had the coach pull -- Exactly. Thank you. Chloe got on TV. Nice shot. Mom, don't pull me out. Rob in central park. Hey, robin.

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