Childhood Concussions: What It Looks Like And How Much Do You Know?
Today more than ever children are beginning to play sports at a much younger age. They use sports programs as an advantage to being accepted to college and granted scholarships. As a result of playing sports at a younger age, concussions are on the rise. As a father of four who has coached many of my kids sports teams, I have seen many sports related injuries but concussions in particular are definitely increasing. Concussions can be a serious injury with long term affects if not cared for properly. As a parent it is important to know what a concussion is and what symptoms to look for.
Concussions are usually caused by a forceful impact to the head or a whiplash type of injury that causes a quick shaking of the head and brain. Contact sports such as football, hockey, wrestling, lacrosse and soccer have a higher incidence of concussions.
Here are common symptoms to look for if your child has any type of forceful head trauma:
- Forgetting what happened right after the trauma to the head
- Unable to think clearly
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dizziness and/or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Feeling tired
- Easily upset and more emotional
- Sleep issues – possibly sleeping more or less than usual or having trouble falling asleep
Once you see your child may have symptoms of a concussion it is important to seek medical care right away. Your medical doctor will assess your child’s condition and suggest the best approach to a safe recovery.
The most common approach is to rest and limit activities giving the brain an opportunity to recover. It is important to limit physical activities, sports, video games, TV, school work, texting, reading and other activities that can put strain on the brain. I know from my experience as a coach and parent this may be difficult to get across to your children because they can’t see the physical injury and as a result may not take it serious.
Be sure to closely monitoring your child’s condition to be aware of any changes or symptoms they may experience. Your child must get medical clearance before returning to activities. Returning too soon can increase the risk of additional concussions and long term damage to their brain.
It is important to speak with your children’s coaches to be sure they have been trained on proper protocol for assessing concussions and that the best quality equipment is provided and also fits properly. The coaches should also be teaching the kids how to help prevent concussions such as leading with their chest and shoulders rather than their head.
Be sure to share this information with your children so they understand the serious affects of a concussion and are aware of the importance of letting you know if they experience any type of impact to their head. When it comes to a possible concussion it is better to be cautious to minimize any further damage or possible long term affects.
Note: Please consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise, nutrition or health program.