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  C. What Parents Should Know About Childhood Concussions

Narrator: This is Science Today. Parents with children participating in sports should be aware that there's nothing mild about a mild concussion. In fact, Dr. David Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, says his studies suggest a mild trauma to the brain may impair the plasticity - or growth - of a developing brain.

Hovda: During our very young, developing years, our brain is very capable of absorbing and integrating vast amounts of knowledge very quickly and having the brain respond in a very plastic fashion.

Narrator: The researchers tested young rats, whose brain capacity is equivalent to 5 to 7-year-old humans and found a mild trauma to the brain altered the capacity to respond to an enriched environment. But Hovda says parents should not be overtly afraid to let their children play sports…

Hovda: We are not talking about trying to sequester people from continuing their normal activity, we're trying to educate the public so that when something does happen, you have somebody who at least understands that something has occurred and how to actually respond to it.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.