By: Dr. Audrey Paul M.D.Ph.D. FACEP FAAP- Advanced Concussion Solutions (Westport, CT & Long Island, NY)
What to do about Concussions?
Are your children involved in sports? If so, that’s great – youth sports should be encouraged! Over 60 million children and adolescents play sports annually, and over 7 million are involved in high school sports. Sports can help build confidence, provide exercise, and help develop friendships and relationships. Participation in sports is even associated with decreased depression among teens and improved academic performance.
However, sports involvement does carry some risk. An estimated 4 million concussions occur annually, with 1.1 to 1.3 million attributed to sports. Recently, concussions have become more of a concern because of long-term risks of cognitive impairment, post-concussion symptoms, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
In the short term, how do you know if your child is concussed? A concussion is caused by a direct or an indirect blow to the head (for example, a jaw injury or whiplash type injury). Symptoms most commonly include headache and dizziness. A list of concussion-related symptoms can be found below.
Difficulty thinking clearly
Slower processing or foggy
Nausea or vomiting
Concussions rarely (about 10% of the time) involve loss of consciousness. Younger athletes may not show symptoms for 24-48 hours. This means you should keep an eye out for headaches or other complaints a day or two after an injury.
Treatment of concussions used to involve rest for an unlimited time period. However, extended rest has been shown to actually be harmful and prolong recovery. Current recommendations are strict rest for 24-48 hours, followed by a gradual return to regular activities as tolerated. Contact sports should not be resumed until your child is cleared by a medical provider with experience in concussion management. Recent data has shown that screen avoidance can improve recovery time as well. That means no phones or laptops for a few days after a concussion!
When should you go to the ER?
Any of these signs should prompt you to call 911 and go to the nearest emergency department.
Signs and symptoms associated with an increased risk of serious brain injury include:
1. Repeated vomiting
2. Worsening headache
3. Change in mental status
4. Increased sleepiness
5. Difficulty waking up
Though some sports injuries may not be of concern, it is always wise to do your research and talk to your trusted physician!
Allied Physicians Group is a partnership of more than 150 dedicated, caring physicians and 350 highly trained support staff. Allied serves over 180,000 patients with offices throughout Greater New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and beyond. Founded in 2006, Allied Physicians Group is a recognized leader in increasing healthcare efficiencies and patient satisfaction, emphasizing support, innovation, and collaboration. If you are looking for a Pediatrician near you click here or for more information please visit https://alliedphysiciansgroup.com/.