- We know that children's brains are still developing and are more at risk with concussions than mature brains.
- We know that many athletes attempt to hide symptoms of a concussion so they can continue to play. (Bad idea!)
- After a concussion -- even serious ones that affect the daily activities of a teen -- kids are often eager to return to the game that puts them at risk for another injury.
- Symptoms of a concussion range from mild to severe.
- nausea or vomiting
- slurred speech
- ringing in the ears
- trouble concentrating
- sensitivity to light or noise
- sleep problems
- balance problems
- memory loss
- There are no specific treatments for concussion.
- Rest is important. This includes not only avoiding activities that increase the risk of another injury, but also brain rest. Some kids need quiet time in bed without lights, sounds, television, computers, or books.
- Headaches can be treated with pain relievers and sometimes migraine medications.
- Memory and thinking problems are treated with rehabilitation and memory devices (like a calendar or planner). Occasionally stimulants (the medicines used for ADHD) are used temporarily.
- Depression and anxiety should be managed by someone experienced in dealing with post-concussion syndrome.
Athletic trainers are available at many local schools to help identify the athletes at risk of concussion. They will be testing kids with various methods, and at this time there is still a lot of variability in what each school program is doing. It is best to have baseline testing done BEFORE any brain injuries (ie the start of the season) to compare to testing done after a suspected concussion.
If your child is suspected of having a concussion, bring any available test results (both from before and after injury if possible) to your appointment with a healthcare provider.
Prevention is still the best medicine!
- Wear proper gear at all times.
- Be sure helmets are in good condition and fit properly.
- Wear mouth guards at all times.
- Follow the rules of the game.
- Sit out if injured.
- If you suspect someone might have a concussion, speak up!