Published On: Fri, May 17th, 2013

Sports related head injuries on the rise as world famous sporting events enthuse our kids & teens

Dr. Santiago Figuereo- PPMiami – With the upcoming hype about the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, both being held in Brazil, kids and teens from around the world are mimicking their sports heroes on the fields, paved arenas, pools and all sporting venues alike. And this is great! Keeping their bodies active is essential to their physical and mental health. The downside of all this physical activity are the head injuries that are suffered by many.

The number of kids and teens affected by traumatic brain injuries has risen drastically in the last decade, maybe because of heightened awareness on these types of injuries or because of poor training, lack of proper equipment or, for example, in our Latin American countries, inept sporting facilities. The mortality rate after a head injury is also higher in our developing countries than it is on an international level.

20%-30% of all head injuries in kids and teens are attributed to sporting and recreational activities. An approximate 10% of high-school students in the US alone are said to suffer from a concussion while practicing a contact sport each season. Of these, girls have a higher risk of injury; this may be due to weaker muscle strength in “gender-comparable” sports.

“Traumatic head injuries not only occur to kids and teens practicing “contact sports”, there is an opportunity in every sport for a concussion or head injury to be suffered, these may not be properly diagnosed and might not get the care necessary before getting back into the sport.”-Says the Medical Director of the ANSI, Neurosurgeon Dr. Santiago Figuereo“Each head injury and its recovery are different, and the brain has an amazing way to return to normal after injury. It is critical to know the symptoms and to seek immediate treatment before there is a chance for more serious complications to occur. Proper healing time is also imperative.”- Affirms the doctor.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

This is a blow or thrust to the head that disrupts the normal activity of the brain. This can happen when the head suddenly and violently hits an object or when an object pierces the skull entering the brain tissue. It can also occur due to a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. A concussion is an example of this.

Symptoms of TBI

Traumatic brain injury can have various physical and psychological effects. These can appear immediately after the event, while others may take days or weeks to appear. Parents, teachers and coaches are asked to be aware of these symptoms even weeks after any injury.

Mild brain injury can include some of the following: loss of consciousness or being dazed, confused or disoriented, issues with memory or concentration, headache, dizziness or loss of balance, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, feeling depressed or agitated, ringing in the ears or a bad taste in the mouth, sensitivity to light or sound, mood swings, abnormal sleeping habits, fatigue or drowsiness.

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include symptoms of mild injury, as well as symptoms that may appear within the first hours to days after a head injury: combativeness or other abnormal behavior, clear fluids coming out of nose or ears, weakness or numbness in fingers and toes, slurred speech, inability to awaken from sleep, persistent headache or headache that worsens loss of coordination, convulsions or seizures, unequal pupil size.


Dr. Santiago Figuereo, FAANS, FACS is certified by the Board of Neurosurgery of the United States. He is the Founder and Medical Director of Advanced Neuro-Spine Institute (formerly the Miami Neurological Institute). Dr. Figuereo studied general surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia. He completed his residency in Neurosurgery at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California. The doctor was selected for neurosurgical training at the University of Washington, and made a minor in Functional Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Santiago Figuereo has been an assistant professor at the School of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania, he was Director of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Philadelphia Veterans Hospital and writes numerous articles for international publications.

To request additional or personalized information and to schedule an appointment, please call (786) 623-2000, email

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