Does my child have a concussion?

Concussion is a hot topic lately and rightly so.  Nearly 4 million people will suffer from concussions each year and nearly 10% of all athletes will have a concussion in any given year.  In the past, we may have just made a statement as a coach or parent that “he/she just got there ‘bell rung’ and they’ll be fine, they just need to walk it off.”   But with better diagnostics and understanding of concussion, we now realize that blow to the head the made you “see stars” can have lasting consequences if not properly treated.

How does a concussion occur?

A concussion can occur with any force that causes the brain to strike the inside of the skull.  This usually occurs with a traumatic event that strikes the head; such as hitting the ground or being struck by a helmet or ball.  It can also happen with a sudden acceleration/deceleration of the head, like in a whiplash event.  The impact with the skull can bruise or contuse the brain causing physical damage to the nervous tissue and causing inflammation.  

What are the signs of a concussion?

    * Memory loss for before or after the incident
    * Balance or coordination problems
    * Slowness of movement
    * Confusion
    * Vomiting
    * One pupil larger than another
    * Personality changes
    * Any loss of consciousness

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

The symptoms can be broken down into four different areas:

1. Cognitive

    * Short term memory problems
    * Confusion
    * Slowness of thought
    * Trouble concentrating

2. Emotional/Mood

    * More Irritability
    * More emotional
    * More anxious/nervous

3. Physical

    * Headaches
    * Neck pain
    * Dizziness
    * Nausea
    * Blurred or double vision
    * Sensitivity to light or noise
    * Feeling off balance

4. Sleep disorders

    * Difficulty falling asleep
    * Difficulty staying asleep
    * Needing to sleep more than usual

It is important to remember that some of the concussion symptoms may not be present immediately after the injury, but develop slowly over time.  So after a head injury, continue to monitor for new signs or symptoms over the next several days.

If you believe that your child has suffered a concussion it is important that you remove them from any further sporting activity, until they have been cleared by a medical professional to return to play.  It is always wise to have your child evaluated by a medical professional that specializes in concussion after a head injury.  As scary as a concussion may seem and can be if not treated appropriately, the good news is that most concussions will get better on their own with proper rest and diet.

For more information on concussion prevention, evaluation, treatment or base-line testing contact CALI today