- Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

Safety gear is crucial for contact sports but there is no concussion-proof helmet. Safety specialists offer some tips for preventing and managing concussions:

-Wear helmets and other recommended protective equipment that is properly maintained and fitted. That includes always buckling the helmet’s chin strap, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

-Know signs of a concussion, which include confusion, weakness, appearing dazed or stunned, lack of coordination, mood or behavior changes, and even a brief loss of consciousness.

-Ask whether a child’s coaches are trained in concussion prevention and management, and who on the sidelines is responsible for evaluating players after a hit, says Gerard Gioia of Children’s National Medical Center, an adviser to USA Football.

-Ask whether players are taught head-safe techniques. For example, the CDC’s “heads-up” campaign says football players shouldn’t lower their head during a hit.

-Ask whether a league limits practice with live contact, Gioia says.

-Anyone suspected of a concussion should be taken out of play right away and sent for medical attention, the CDC advises.

-Players shouldn’t be allowed back on the field until cleared by a trained professional, since concussions take time to heal. A second blow before full recovery is especially dangerous.

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Online:

CDC info: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/youth.html

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