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Concussions In Figure Skating


A Figure Skater Hits His Head During a Skating Competition

A Figure Skater Hits His Head During a Skating Competition

Photo by Jamie McDonald - Getty Images

Examples of a Figure Skating Related Concussions:

An ice dancer was doing a pattern dance, the Argentine Tango, with her partner and fell and hit her head. The next thing she knew, she was in a car. Her skating partner drove her home. She had no memory of how she got in the car. In fact she couldn't remember what day it was or what month it was. She didn't remember how she ended up getting off the ice, getting into the car, or really going home. The next morning, she was taken to the hospital. All turned out okay. The skater rested for a few days and then was cleared by a doctor to return to the ice.

That story is one of many examples of figure skating related concussions.

One ice skating parent remembers that her child had short-term memory loss and believes her child's personality was altered after her daughter suffered a blow to the head when she was skating.

An adult figure skater remembers having two concussions as a child. She wears a helmet today while skating to prevent future concussions.

Figure Skating Concussions:

Figure skaters need to be aware that concussions can have serious or long-term effects. Concussions in figure skating are traumatic head injuries that can be both mild and severe.

Concussion Facts:

  • A hard blow to the head can cause a concussion.
  • All types of concussions are serious.
  • Concussions may be present even if a person remains conscious after a blow to the head.
  • A concussion is a serious brain injury.
  • Recognizing a concussion as soon as possible may prevent death or future head injuries.
  • After a first concussion, there are increased chances of additional concussionss.
  • Repeated concussions can cause brain damage.

Concussion Symptoms:

  • A person who has a concussion may say that he just doesn't "feel right."
  • The person may be bothered by noise and light.
  • A person who has a concussion may have problems with balance and get dizzy.
  • A person with a concussion may be confused and may not be able to pay attention.

Other early symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Disorientation
  • Memory loss
  • Unconsciousness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pupils unequal in size
  • Blurred vision

As the concussion progresses, there may be memory disturbances and irritability. A person's personality might change and an individual may have trouble sleeping. He or she may not be able to focus or concentrate.

Depression May Follow a Concussion:

One of the many symptoms experienced by figure skaters following a concussion is depression. There has been research that says that concussion may also be linked to major depression later in life.

How to Respond If You Suspect You or Another Skater Has a Concussion:

  1. Don't ever ignore a blow or bump to the head. Even if you feel like all is fine, tell a coach or parent that there may be a concussion issue.
  2. See a doctor or medical professional immediately.
  3. Concussions take time to heal. Don't go right back to skating and to the rink until a doctor says it is okay to return to normal activity.

Recommendation For Figure Skating Coaches Regarding Concussions:

  • Figure skating coaches must do all they can to prevent injuries.
  • Safety must be a priority for skaters.
  • If a coach sees any change in a skater's behavior after a fall that may have involved a blow to the head, he or she should insist that a skater leave the ice and rest.
  • A coach must educate parents and skaters about concussions. He or she also may need to insist that a skater gets seen by a doctor before returning to the rink.
  • If a possible concussion occurs during a skating competition or competition practice, a coach may need to encourage a skater to withdraw from the competition or event..
  • Ice skating teachers should recommend that young children wear a helmet during tot learn to skate classes and also during public skating sessions.

More About Concussions In Sports:

ImPACT is a neurocognitive assessment tool that can be used by figure skating coaches to assess if a skater can return to the ice after experiencing a concussion. The tool can be used at baseline and after a concussion. Many hospitals also have concussion clinics.

Concussion Information:

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