Children’s doctors - Dr. John Watts, Jr. - Gastonia PediatricianAdvice from a children’s doctor on football

With another Super Bowl coming next Sunday, boys are going to renewing their interest in football — but you should talk to your children’s doctor about whether you want them trying out for it. More and more parents are becoming concerned about their children’s health, and how football may affect it.

The nature of the game means that, in spite of helmets and padding, there is a certain risk from concussion and other impact-related injuries. Concussion is caused by the inertia of a collision causing the brain to hit the inside of the skull, which means that a helmet is of limited use in preventing it. There is reason to believe that this causes long-term damage — a study published back in September found that children who play tackle football before age twelve are at about twice the risk of behavioral problems and three times the risk of depression later in life.

What’s to be done?

The question is what to do with all this information. Football is a dangerous sport, but not the only dangerous one, or even the most dangerous one. Hockey and lacrosse, for example, also carry risks of injury, and boxing is so dangerous to young people that the American Academy of Pediatricians took a position against it in 2011. They have yet to take such a position against football. And many families in Gastonia, NC still feel a strong loyalty to the tradition of football.

Children’s doctors do recommend that parents take certain steps. If your coach insists on tackle football instead of touch, make sure that the coach is willing at least to strictly enforce the rules. You should also make sure that the coach can recognize the symptoms of concussion, heat stroke, sprains and strains.

Children’s doctors agree that any child who suffers from a concussion must be taken off the field and out of the game right away, with no suggestion of “playing through the pain.” The child should recover within a few days, or a few weeks at the most, but should not be allowed to play again until recovery is complete. In the meantime, the child should rest physically and mentally. This includes not doing any difficult homework until recovery is complete.

A children’s doctor in Gastonia, NC

Gastonia Pediatric Associates is a pediatric clinic in a convenient location within the Charlotte area. It is one of the first medical practices for children in this area, and is owned and directed by its own physicians. It offers medical advice for parents 24 hours a day, and has provided personalized service to three generations of families. Its staff includes three physicians and three nursing staff. If you need a children’s doctor, call Gastonia Pediatrics today.