There has been much discussion over the last decade about concussions in professional sports. It has brought more attention to high school and college sports as well. Children are just as vulnerable to getting a concussion, but in other ways. You can’t watch them every minute of the day, so here are some tips about what to do if you suspect your child may have a concussion.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a blow or jolt to the head or body that caused the brain to shake. The shaking leads to the brain not working normally, and it can cause serious side effects.
Many people think you must lose consciousness to have a concussion, but in fact, only about 10% of concussed people lose consciousness. Some symptoms of a concussion appear immediately, but others may take days, weeks, or months, and many times they are not noticeable.
Any of the side effects can be temporary or permanent. That’s why it is so important to recognize the signs and know what to do if you suspect your child may have a concussion.
Our youngest children can’t tell us if something is wrong, so parents must pay attention to any signs of a concussion in babies and toddlers especially if you know they have fallen.
A baby may have a bump or bruise on the head, cry when their head is moved, have changes in their sleep patterns, exhibit irritability, and begin vomiting.
A toddler may vomit or have nausea, show less interest in play, have a headache, changes in sleep patterns, and cry excessively.
Those children older than age 2 may have dizziness and balance problems, have sensitivity to light and noise, be confused or forgetful about recent events, be drowsy, have mood changes like being sad, nervous, irritable, or emotional. In addition they may have trouble sleeping.
If your young child or teen exhibits these symptoms, it is time to see Weirton Medical Center.
Specifically watch out for the following symptoms of a serious concussion:
This may indicate a medical emergency, and your child should get immediate medical care.
Once your child has been diagnosed with a concussion, even a mild one, keep track of their symptoms with a concussion log. It will help you and your physician to gradually return your child to activities during each stage of their recovery.
The only real treatment for a concussion is rest. The brain needs to rest from both mental and physical activity. Don’t allow your child to use screens of any kind like the TV, smartphone, and tablet at first.
Sleep helps to heal the brain. Give them quiet nap times and early bedtimes. Recovery is a gradual process so give them time to heal.
Any signs of regression should be reported to your physician like grogginess, large mood swings, or confusion.