How to Recognize and Treat Concussions in Kids

Just lately, the NFL modified a key component of its concussion coverage after one among its gamers returned to play too early and reignited the top harm dialog throughout the nation. A concussion is outlined as a traumatic mind harm brought on by a blow to the top or jolt to the physique that ends in rapid and momentary neurological signs. It may well trigger problem with focus, steadiness, sleep, and extra, which is why as fall sports activities are underway, it’s essential for fogeys to acknowledge the signs and symptoms of the harm.

Yvette Brown-Shirley, MD, pediatric neurologist, and Arvind Balaji, MD, pediatric sports medicine specialist, reply your questions on stopping concussions in your youngster and what to anticipate through the restoration course of.

Q: Are concussions extra prone to be brought on by sports activities or different issues?

Brown-Shirley: We generally see sports-related concussions in youngsters and adolescents. However we additionally see concussions from accidents that aren’t sports-related, reminiscent of falls, being hit within the head by an object, or being concerned in a automotive accident.

Q: If my youngster has a concussion, how do I do know whether or not to take them to obtain medical care?

Balaji: A concussion consists of a shaking harm to the mind plus signs of irregular mind operate. Symptoms can vary from delicate to extreme and will embrace headache, dizziness, nausea, and steadiness points. Successful on the top with native ache solely will not be particularly regarding for a concussion. However a head harm with a number of of these signs is regarding for concussion and might warrant medical analysis.

Coaches, mother and father, athletic trainers, and medical doctors ought to acknowledge indicators of head harm instantly and take away gamers from taking part in till they’re absolutely evaluated. A cautious analysis and bodily examination are efficient in figuring out concussions and stopping youth athletes from placing themselves in danger by returning to play whereas injured.

Q: How is concussion handled?

Balaji: The targets of concussion remedy are applicable relaxation time from exercise to cut back signs; rehabilitation utilizing bodily, cognitive, and visible/steadiness workouts; and a gradual return to desired exercise. This strategy is utilized broadly to all concussion accidents, though there might be various charges of restoration, individual to individual.

Brown-Shirley: The everyday timeline of restoration for adolescents and youngsters is 4 weeks, though there’s some variability on that timeline, relying on a few elements. Most notably could be a previous historical past of concussions and the time to restoration from these concussions, in addition to a historical past of migraines and historical past of psychological well being considerations reminiscent of nervousness or melancholy.

Q: How do you shield the mind post-concussion?

Brown-Shirley: When there’s sufficient drive transmitted to the top, the mind undergoes adjustments on the mind cell stage, and it’ll step by step return to its regular operate with time. We encourage our concussed sufferers to avoid collaborating in high-risk actions, like collision and phone sports activities, as that might enhance their probabilities of sustaining one other head harm whereas they’re recovering from their present concussion. One other head harm whereas in restoration can enhance their danger of uncommon life-threatening penalties or, extra generally, worsening signs and prolonging length of restoration.

Q: For youngsters who’ve had a number of concussions, is it protected to maintain taking part in the game?

Balaji: We all know, generally, having one concussion will increase your danger of getting further concussions, however at present there’s not conclusive proof about what number of concussions is taken into account too many. Right here at Stanford Drugs Youngsters’s Well being, we’ve got an open and clear dialog with mother and father and athletes to debate the dangers and advantages of continued sports activities participation if an athlete has had a number of concussions.

Q: Concussion protocols are primarily based on analysis of largely grownup males. Do women and girls have totally different experiences of concussion?

Balaji: It’s essential to acknowledge that adolescent women appear to endure concussions from sports activities extra often than boys and might take longer to get well. Extra analysis is being performed to analyze precisely why that is the case. Latest proof means that we’re not doing as nice of a job as we may in recognizing concussions in women and getting them medical consideration as rapidly as we do with boys. New analysis exhibits that if we will enhance this discrepancy, women have likelihood of restoration on the similar charge as boys.

Q: Is there something mother and father can do to stop concussions?

Balaji: Sports activities rule adjustments have had a big effect on lowering concussion charges in youngsters. Ensuring that youngsters adhere to the principles designed to guard them is essential to stopping concussions. Another prevention methods embrace the next:

  1. Keep away from head-to-head collisions with different athletes.
  2. Use correct strategies associated to the game, and put on correct protecting tools.
  3. Have gamers who are suffering a head harm or complain of any concussion signs come out of shape or the sport to get evaluated instantly.

Q: What ought to mother and father search for when they’re making an attempt to determine if their youngster’s sports activities crew has smart insurance policies for figuring out and dealing with head accidents?

Brown-Shirley: Concussion legal guidelines fluctuate from state to state. California legislation mandates that each one coaches should obtain coaching on concussions. Speaking together with your youngster’s coach, athletic trainers, and sports activities group about their concussion protocols is extremely inspired and really useful. It’s additionally a good suggestion to incorporate your pediatrician as a part of your youngster’s remedy crew to watch your youngster’s restoration.  

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