Your Voice: Still a concussion risk

August 1, 2009

A letter clarifies that hemlets are worn to decrease the severity of an injury: complete protection from injury is not possible.

There are, however, two statements in the Guide that concern me greatly. The first statement, "Mouth guards protect teeth, cheeks and tongue and help prevent injuries such as lost or broken teeth, jaw fractures or concussions," and the second statement, "Helmets are worn to prevent concussion," are very misleading for parents and pediatricians alike. I frequently have parents tell me that their child was wearing a helmet/mouth guard so he/she could not possibly have a concussion. Helmets and mouth guards can never prevent an injury. They are worn to decrease the severity of injury.

Parents and athletes need to be aware that protective sports gear is just that, protective. They need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion and take appropriate action if the child has a concussion, even a "mild" one.

Leslie Larson, RN, PNP

St. Paul, Minn.