Soccer is said to be the fastest growing and most popular sport on earth. And it’s coming to Austin.
The Austin FC soccer club makes its debut here this April.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin’s very own pediatric neurologist and concussion expert, Dr. Kate Labiner, will have a special role with the team as she is going to be supporting neurologic management needs for the Austin FC Academy. The Academy is the boys’ competitive junior team made up of U13 and U14 players who are among the most talented in Central Texas. There are plans to grow the program to include other age groups with time.
More than 80 percent of soccer-related injuries in the U.S. occur in those under age 25. Chief among these injuries are Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) of varying degrees including concussions which are considered mild TBIs.
Dr. Labiner treats concussions frequently in children and teenagers, especially in those who play sports.
“Football and ice hockey were once the sports traditionally associated with the greatest amount of youth concussions, but soccer now is right up there with them and is the leading cause of sports related concussions in girls,” says Dr. Labiner. “With spring soccer leagues starting up, and so many kids eager to get back to activities like sports after a hiatus over the past year, we do expect to see an uptick in head injuries.”
In soccer, the unprotected head can be left vulnerable to a serious blow through a variety of scenarios such as:
- physical contact with another player
- hitting the ground or goal frame
- poor technique when heading the ball
According to the CDC, as many as half of all youth concussions go unreported, which is frightening to experts. If a concussion is left untreated it can lead to long-term effects such as headaches, difficulty with learning and memory, focus and balance, as well as mood swings and depression.
Dr. Labiner stresses the importance of parents, coaches, youth sports officials, and young athletes themselves recognizing signs of a concussion, so they can get quick medical attention if needed. Common concussion symptoms are (but not limited to):
- Headache or similar feeling of pressure in the head
- Inability to recall events prior to and immediately following the injury
- Nausea or vomiting
- Confusion or sluggishness in conversation
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Problems with balance or vision
- Drowsiness or inability to wake up
- Restlessness or agitation
- Worsening of underlying learning issues, such as ADHD
If your child experienced any of these symptoms following a hit to the head, it’s best to seek medical attention right away. Worrying symptoms requiring an immediate ER visit include confusion lasting longer than 30 minutes, excessive vomiting, or loss of consciousness.
We wish all our young goal-scorers a successful and safe season at the soccer field this spring, and go Austin FC!
In addition to concussions, Child Neurology Consultants of Austin has experience treating a wide range of neurological disorders in children and teenagers from 0 to 21 years old. For an appointment with one of our specialists, or to learn more about our services, please contact us here.