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Keep your head up this winter

With the upcoming winter season comes great sports such as hockey. However, with that comes the risk of serious head injuries, and the Region of Durham’s health department is reminding residents on how to avoid concussions.

A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a bump or blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull.

“All concussions are serious,” states David Amot, a public health nurse with the health department, in a news release.

“Research has shown that incidents of concussions are on the rise and often occur in youth who play sports.”

Amot adds that those ages 10 through 19 are at a greater risk for consussions as the teenage brain is still developing.

“The parts of the brain responsible for judgement, self-control, emotions and organization are not fully developed until age 25.”

To help prevent concussions, the regional health department recommends playing fair and showing respect for other players, playing within the rules of the sport, wearing the right protective gear, ensure that gear fits properly and is maintained, remove any tripping hazards, and follow your sport organization’s concussion policy.

“Most people with a concussion can recover quickly and fully. However, for some people, symptoms can last for days, weeks or longer,” Amot states.

“Individuals who have had a concussion in the past are also at risk of having another and may take longer to recover. Repeat concussions are serious and may require the individual to alter their level of participation in a sport or stop playing the sport altogether.”

To get a free copy of Heads-up on Concussions: What parents need to know, a region-developed resource on concussions, please call the Durham Health Connection Line at 1-800-841-2729, or visit durham.ca/sportsinjury.