Community Town Hall discusses concussion risks in youth sports

COVINGTON, Wash. -- The risk of concussions is real in youth sports, and Tuesday night those concerns were addressed in a Town Hall at Kentwood High School by panelists like former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman.

The Kent School District and 710 ESPN Seattle hosted the event.

“It’s early on in the discussion; it’s early on in research, so there’s still a lot of things to be figured out but it certainly isn’t anything you should take lightly,” said Wyman.

The panel discussed a wide range of topics, from how to recognize a concussion and advances in medicine to treat it.

They said concussions shouldn’t be seen as something kids ignore or play through, which is a change in culture that will be key in keeping youth sports safe.

Among those who came to the Town Hall was a mom, whose 10th grader received a concussion during synchronized swimming practice.

“It’s something I had no idea would ever happen and it’s been a pretty intense journey because she didn’t recover as quickly,” said Kathleen McVey about her daughter.

School leaders and sports experts are concerned that families will start to avoid youth sports out of fear.

“We want to make every event and every activity in our schools as safe as possible; we don’t want people to have a fear that something is going to happen to their child and not participate,” said Kent School District Spokesman Chris Loftis.

Dr. Stan Herring during the Town Hall said concussions are scary, but he says keeping kids inactive is a greater risk to their health.