The Center for Disease Control & Prevention has rolled out a new kid-friendly mobile game app called Rocket Blades that is a great tool to help educate children ages 6-8 about concussion safety.
Through an exciting futuristic world of galactic racing adventures, children learn the benefits of playing it safe and smart. Rocket Blades is designed to teach children three core points:
1) Hitting your head can cause a brain injury, called a concussion.
2) Tell a coach, parent, or other adult if they hit their head.
3) Go see a doctor if your brain is hurt and rest before returning to play.
In the game, the kids help a team of players skate through six levels of the Rocket Blade Championships. The goal is to keep players safe by avoiding obstacles. If a player takes a hit and shows signs and symptoms of a concussion they have to go tell a grown up, make the player sit out and get the player checked out before they can go back into the game. Their job is to keep the skaters safe and do the right thing when they hit their head.
Thanks to this new app parents have the perfect opportunity to talk about concussion safety with their younger children in a context that is fun and very relatable to them. Try this …
If you see your child is winning at the game, take a moment to congratulate them. Ask why they think they’ve won the game and what they would do in real life to keep themselves safe. Ask what happens to Rocket Blades players when they hit their head (Do their brains get hurt? How do the players feel? Do the players feel or act differently after a concussion?). You can also use this time to remind your child about the types of symptoms a person may get when they have a concussion and how important it is to tell a grown up if they don’t feel right.
If you notice your child becomes frustrated when the players have concussion symptoms (such as blurry vision or slower reaction time), talk to your child about concussion symptoms and what happens when they hit their head. You can remind them that their brain makes the rest of their body work correctly. When the brain gets hurt it can’t do that job properly and you can’t perform at your best.
The game also helps you talk to your child about the role of helmets in the game and in real life. Remind them that helmets are a very important way to keep their brain safe and safety gear should always be worn when playing. However, just like the players in the game, children in real life can get a concussion even if they are wearing a helmet and they should always do their best to avoid hits to the head.
To help you get ready for this dialogue, the CDC HEADS UP Concussion and Helmet Safety app offers lots of great resources for adults. This app teaches you how to spot a concussion and what to do if you suspect your child has one. It shares great information on brain injury basics, signs and symptoms, response prompts, danger signs, safety tips, recovery guides, and more. It also offers a helmet selector that helps you best fit your child with the protective equipment they need for different sports.
Don’t delay. Download both of these free apps today to boost the concussion discussion in your family.