Concussion’s, what are they, what do I do if I think my child has suffered a concussion?

By: Eric Hebert, CPNP AC/PC

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that usually occurs from a bump on the head or sudden jarring of the head and body that causes the brain to move around. This injury pattern results in chemical changes in the brain and symptoms that include confusion, headache, memory issues, sluggish movement, bothered by light, and so on. Concussions frequently happen during sporting events; however, it is important to remember that they can happen anytime with trauma or certain movements of the head and brain. Some examples of these could include striking one’s head on a cabinet, auto and bicycle accidents, and playground and household injuries. Concussions are serious and it is very important to have your child evaluated right away if you suspect concussion.

Know the signs after an injury: confusion, behavioral change, light sensitivity, headache, forgetfulness, vomiting.

What do I do if I think my child has a concussion?

  1. Have your child seen by a qualified provider. If symptoms are severe, such as loss of consciousness, continued vomiting, intense headache that is progressing, or “worst headache of my life”, your child should be seen on the emergency department.
  1. Your child needs to avoid any contact sports until cleared by a provider, a second impact carries an increased mortality rate. In fact, even the slightest secondary impact could cause devastating effect of rapid swelling in the brain.
  1. Brain rest: Your child’s brain needs to recover from the injury and therefore, like any other muscle injury, needs rest. This includes avoidance of screen time. Your provider can discuss an individualized recovery plan.
  1. In most cases, a CAT scan or other imaging is not required. Your provider will evaluate the need for any imaging.

How long does it take to recover from a concussion?

The recovery time from concussion varies can last from a few days to months. Strictly adhering to the recovery plan will shorten the duration of symptoms.

How to avoid concussions?

Make sure your child wears all appropriate sports safety gear such as helmets, protect younger children by using safety devices such as stair gates, soft surfaces in play areas, and appropriate safety restraints in automobiles.

This site is a useful tool to provide further guidance for parents and coaches:

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