Concussion Information for Parents

R. Robert Franks, DO, FAOASM August 11th, 2014

 If you’re a parent, then you’re constantly on the job. You do your best to protect your kids from injury, you take care of them after they do inevitably get injured and then you remind them about how you were right when you told them that jumping off that second story porch onto the trampoline was a bad idea.

Parenting certainly isn’t an easy job, but if there’s one thing every parent knows, it’s that kids will be kids! They’ll play hard, have a blast and at some point, they’ll probably get hurt along the way. But having helpful information, especially when it pertains to something as important as recognizing early signs of a concussion, can really change the game for parents. You can’t keep your kids from ever getting hurt, but you can equip yourself with the right information to be as prepared as possible.
Your parents’ generation knew the drill when it came to ankle sprains and broken bones, but just a couple of short decades ago, not much was known about the harmful and potentially long term effects of concussions. And those who were talking about concussions were doing so in reference to professional sports. Now we know that kids are some of the most common victims of this all too common injury.  Certainly concussions don’t just happen in high school football players. They can occur during any kind of activity - from cheerleading and field hockey to soccer and swimming!
What is a Concussion & How Does it Occur?
Athletes are often told that proper training and improved physical fitness can reduce their chances of injury while playing the sports they love. While this is true in many cases, a concussion is an injury to the head and it occurs simply due to impact. This means your all-star soccer player, who spent the entire summer perfecting his fitness and his skill, can suffer aconcussion simply because he knocks heads with another player going up for a 50/50 ball. And sports aren’t the only arena where kids can suffer a concussion. Be on the lookout for early signs of a concussion in young children, who are particularly susceptible to falling (as in, off bikes and down steps).
Because a concussion actually interferes with the normal functioning of the brain, this is a serious potential threat and one that parents should be made aware and informed about. The best way to help your children is to know what the common, early signs of a concussion are so that you can quickly address the issue should it ever arise.
Of course, not every concussion case will manifest all of these symptoms listed below. Every scenario is unique and some kids may only have one or two of these symptoms, but may still have sustained a serious injury to the head. Therefore, it is best to never take a potential concussion situation lightly.
10 Early Signs of a Concussion
  1. Unconsciousness
  2. Short term memory loss
  3. Headache
  4. Dizziness
  5. Nausea
  6. Problems with coordination and balance
  7. Blurred vision/ringing in ears
  8. Difficulty with vision
  9. Emotional changes
  10. Issues with sleep
Concussion symptoms should not be overlooked.  Depending on the level of impact, the age and general health of the child and other factors, a concussion can take up to several months to fully heal. During that time, it is essential that parents help their kids observe any guidelines provided by physicians. For example, as hard as it may be for your daughter to sit out of the rest of the field hockey season, if that is her physician’s recommendation, then it is imperative that she give her brain the rest it needs to properly heal from the concussion it sustained.
Parenting is no easy task. But knowing the seven most common early signs of a concussion can help keep your informed and prepared to act.


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