Symptoms and tips from Dayton Children’s
08-22-2012 (Dayton, OH) -
Fall sports are in full swing and while these can bring a lot of fun they also pose a risk for concussions. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that continues to be a major problem for teens playing school sports. It is important for both parents and coaches to know the symptoms of a concussion and to know what to do if they suspect one of their kids might have one.
Most commonly occurring with athletic children, researchers have found that approximately 1.7 million suffer from a traumatic brain injury each year. Researchers from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that even as sport participation has decreased, the amount of concussions have increased in popular sports such as football, basketball, and soccer.
“The incidence of sports-related concussions has dramatically increased, in part because they are being better recognized. Coaches, trainers, sports medicine and primary care physicians are often the first professionals to see these patients,” says Daniel J Lacey, MD, neurologist at Dayton Children’s.
The smallest bump, jolt or banging of the head is an injury to the brain and should not be handled lightly. Dayton Children’s offers useful tips on how to treat immediate symptoms of this injury.
SYMPTOMS: AAP advices that children take longer to heal and recover from a brain injury. It is best to keep your kids from sports and activities for a couple of weeks, or until all symptoms subside. Post-concussion symptoms have become extremely common, especially for girls in high school contact sports. Two of the most common mistakes made regarding these teens are their returning to sports/school before their symptoms have completely cleared, and permitting them to play after a repeat concussion. Specific symptoms may not occur until several weeks after the accident; however, symptoms can also very well occur instantly and should be handled seriously.
These symptoms include:
- Decreased coordination or balance
- Slurred speech
“Researchers don't know if the reasons behind the increase are that team sports have become more competitive, or if it's because of an increase in reporting rates, or both,” says Laurence Kleiner, MD, medical director of neurosurgery at Dayton Childrens.
Dayton Children’s Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center sees nearly 1,500 concussions per year. Football and basketball are the most common sports where these concussions occurred.
PREVENTION: The best medicine is obviously to stay safe during any activity and do what you can to protect your head. Important tips to remember are as followed:
- Wearing the right protective gear-Mouth guards, helmets, shin guards etc.
- Staying hydrated-Taking in plenty of fluids to avoid dizziness
- Playing the rules of the game-Engaging in a fight on the field/court could result in a traumatic brain injury
When the brain impacts the inside of the skull through an abrupt motion of the head or body, a concussion will likely occur. Properly diagnosing and managing a concussion is very important as well as taking steps to void future injuries.
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your pediatrician for treatment options.
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