Concussion Management

Last week we discussed numerous things that should be considered when pulling out spring toys and equipment for your children.  Each year more than 30 million children participate in sports during the spring time in the United States.  More than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under are treated for sports injuries.  While collision and contact sports are associated with higher rates of injury, injuries from individual sports tend to be more severe. 

 With that being said, we at Safe Kids believe that there is a need to address the issue of concussions.  Not only how to prevent a concussion, but also what are the symptoms or signs, and last but not least the steps that should be taken after.

 A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a bump or blow to the head.  Even a bump or blow to the head that seems mild can be serious.  You can’t see a concussion and that is why it is very important to know what you’re looking for after you suspect one has occurred.  Unfortunately, signs and symptoms of a concussion can show up right away or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks later.  If your child complains of any symptoms or you see any signs, make sure to get medical attention right away.

 Nobody can ever predict whether or not a concussion is going to occur, but there are certain precautions you can go over with your child.  Even though every sport is different, there are certain precautions that can be used for all sports.  Discuss with your child that it is important for them to follow their coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.  Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times, no matter what the situation.  Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity (such as helmets, padding, shin guards, mouth guards, and eye protection).  As a parent you should make sure that all protective gear is properly fit and well maintained. 

 Some of the signs and symptoms of a concussion according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are as follows: The child

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Is unsure of the game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly or slower than normal
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events before or after the hit or fall

If a concussion has occurred your child may complain about the following:

  • Headache or “pressure” in their head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double vision or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion
  • Doesn’t “feel right”

 If you suspect a concussion has occurred it is very important that you seek medical attention right away.  A heath care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion and when it is safe for you child to return to sports.  Until your child can see a medical professional, make sure to keep them out of play.  Even after they have been assessed by a medical professional, make sure that they wait until the doctor says it’s ok to return to the activity.  Also it is important to let your child’s coach know about any recent concussion and that they are aware of the current situation.   

 Remind your child that it’s better to miss one game than the whole season.  Concussions range in severity which is unknown to you, make sure your child seeks medical attention.  For more information about concussions and unintentional injury prevention, please visit our website www.safekidsgf.com.  You can also find more information on concussions at the CDC website, www.cdc.gov/injury.

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About safekids

Safe Kids Grand Forks is an injury prevention coalition who has as their mission to prevent unintentional injuries to children under the age of 10. Safe Kids Grand Forks is one of over 600 state and local coalitions affilicated with Safe Kids Worldwide in Washington, D.C. Altru Health System is the lead agency for SKGF and our goal is to collaborate and coordinate activivies of all entities in the community who have childhood injury prevention on their agenda. Together, we are keeping the children of our community and region safe!!

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