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Football Legend Steve Young Urges Kids, Parents to Play It Safe
Date:5/4/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Parents who suspect their child has sustained a concussion while playing sports should immediately pull players off the field -- even at the risk of embarrassing their kid -- to avoid a potentially permanent brain injury, according to football legend Steve Young.

During a Monday news conference on youth sports injury prevention held by Safe Kids USA, Young joined experts to outline what parents should look for when dealing with some of the most serious athletic injuries, such as concussions, heat stroke, and muscle and joint overuse.

Young, a former NFL quarterback who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, said he suffered many concussions during his storied 30-year career, an issue "now coming to the forefront, as it should be."

"It's a nefarious injury with all kinds of gradations, each contextual to the person," Young said. "You just don't know how certain things will affect you. The key is not to push it -- that's always a very dangerous mistake."

About 10 percent of the 38 million American kids participating in sports each year are treated for a sports-related injury, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about half these injuries are preventable.

A recent national survey sponsored by Safe Kids USA and Johnson & Johnson found that parents generally expressed little concern about the number of potential injuries their kids could sustain playing team sports, with only concussions and dehydration causing "a great deal" or "quite a bit" of worry.

About 86 percent of the parents surveyed said their child's injury was "just part of the game" and that it probably would have happened anyway. The survey was a follow-up to similar research done in 2000 that studied parents' knowledge, attitudes and behaviors on youth sports safety.

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