Sports in many areas are in full swing! Every sport comes with some level of risk, but concussions are one of the more common injuries in youth and high school sports including football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball, hockey, and cheerleading. A concussion is an injury that can temporarily disrupt the normal function of the brain. This will affect a child’s ability to think, concentrate, remember, and be efficient at school. Some concussions may be avoided if players are taught safe playing techniques and to follow the rules of the game. One of the most important things every athlete needs to know, is that it is crucial to let their coach or parent know if they have hit their head or have symptoms of a head injury.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A CONCUSSION?
- Headache or “pressure”
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Not “feeling right” or “feeling down”
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Trouble falling asleep
Parents may notice their athlete appearing dazed, stunned, or moving clumsily. They may be confused, forget instructions, or answer questions slowly. Mood, behavior, and personality changes have also been observed by parents. They may not be able to recall events prior to or after the hit or fall. The symptoms of a concussion can range from subtle to obvious and usually happen right after the injury, but some may take hours to a few days to develop. Athletes who have had concussions may report feeling normal before their brain has fully recovered. With most concussions, the player is not knocked out or unconscious.
If you suspect a concussion in your athlete, follow these guidelines from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
- Athletes with suspected concussions should not return to normal game play until they are free of symptoms.
- Athletes should reduce their physical exertion and cognitive workload while recovering. Prolonged reductions may result in negative effects on recovery.
- Gradual steps should be taken to return to physical activity once the athlete has clearance from their doctor.
- When concussion symptoms have lessened and are tolerable for up to 30 to 45 minutes, a child should return to school. This will usually happen within a few days and certainly within the first week of the concussion.
- It is important to pay close attention to worsening symptoms (like increasing headache, nausea, or dizziness) while completing the activity progression. Any concussion-related symptoms that return with exertion are a clear indicator that the concussion has not healed.
- Final clearance to return to full activity should also be at the direction of a physician.
- Symptoms of a concussion usually resolve in 4 weeks in most patients.
The AAP wants to remind us that all things considered, the dangers of inactivity surpass the dangers of playing a sport. Aside from having fun and staying active, playing a sport can help your child develop leadership skills, self-confidence, and teamwork and deal with success and failure. In addition, by participating in sports, children often find exercise enjoyable and are more likely to establish lifelong exercise habits.
If you are concerned that your child has a concussion or any other injury, contact The Pediatric Center in Idaho Falls or Rigby. Our board certified physicians are 100% dedicated to the health and well-being of your child. We are here to answer all of your questions so you have the information you need and can rest assured that your child’s health is in the best hands!
Some content provided by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) www.healthychildren.org