Evan Doherty is a 10-year-old skateboarding star who’s been flashing his skills since he was 4. He earned the nickname “Big E” when his mom put a big red “E” on his T-shirt to spot him easily during his first international competition at age 5. He’s been taking top honors at national and international competitions ever since.
“My parents put a helmet on me the first time I skated, and I’ve worn one ever since,” said Doherty, a Missouri-side resident of the Kansas City area who has never experienced a concussion. “It would feel weird to skate without one.”
Big E, however, sees too many kids skateboarding, riding bikes and playing other sports without a helmet. He’s teaming up with The University of Kansas Hospital to kick off its “Big Safety” campaign with a dedicated website – www.kumed.com/BigSafety – filled with easy to understand information on the signs of concussion plus an opportunity for kids to take a pledge with Big E to always wear their helmet. After taking the pledge, they are encouraged to Tweet about it using #BigSafety.
In 2009, an estimated 446,788 sports-related head injuries were treated in hospital ERs in the U.S., ranging from cycling to football, baseball, softball, soccer, gymnastics and skating.
“Concussions are serious business, especially for young athletes,” said Dr. Randall Goldstein, Big E’s team doctor and the medical director of the Center for Youth Sports Medicine at The University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City, Kan. “We hope this program helps both parents and children understand more about how to avoid and recognize concussions so they can be safer. And, for kids who don’t always like to listen to adults, we hope that Big E has an influence on them, so we’re glad he’s on board to help push this message.”
Concussion symptoms for young athletes can include:
• Throwing up
• Feeling dizzy
• Seeing double or blurred vision
• Being sensitive to light or noise
• Feeling foggy or groggy
• Can’t focus
• Trouble remembering
• Feeling confused
• Just don’t feel right
• Acting irritable
“The first concussion can’t always be prevented, but never put yourself or a child in a position to get a second concussion while recovering from the first,” Dr. Goldstein said. “Don’t be afraid to raise the issue with your coach, parent and-or caregiver if you or a teammate is experiencing concussion symptoms. The most important thing is ensuring your brain and your body are healthy.”
Go to www.kumed.com/BigSafety -- and make the pledge.
To see the videos featuring Evan and his skateboarding message, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXktDXFLkAI and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2avUwNZGXQ.
- Story from KU Hospital