Concussions - Children and Adolescents

A concussion changes how the brain works. It can be only a bump, a jolt or a significant blow to the head or body which will cause the brain to move rapidly back and forth. Even a mild bump to the head can be serious in some cases but particularly for young people.

Symptoms can show up immediately or not until sometime later. Symptoms of concussions are: being dazed, confused or forgetful; having a headache; feeling nauseated or vomiting; problems with dizziness or balance and clumsy movements; being sensitive to noise or light; memory problems; being unconscious, even briefly; one pupil being larger than the other; feeling drowsy; having seizures or any other changes in behavior.

If a concussion is suspected, the child should immediately be pulled from the game so that an assessment from a health care professional can be obtained before the child is allowed back to play. Rest is imperative if a child or teenager has suffered a concussion. Brains take time to heal so as to avoid further complications. Until a young athlete has completely recovered from the first concussion, a second injury is more likely to occur. This should be avoided because second, and subsequent concussions take longer to heal than the first ones.

My young seven year old grandson plays soccer and loves the sport. He recently told me proudly that he had 'headed' the ball to keep it from going into the goal. He had no ill effects from this but I do believe that in a child so young, even 'heading' a ball is something to be aware of and concerned about, in spite of the fact that soccer isn't considered to be one of the rougher sports.

The International Conference on Concussion in Sports believes that when it comes to concussions in children and teens, different treatment is required. If a concussion has been identified, it is important that the child or teenager not be allowed to return to the field to play, not to go to school and definitely not to engage in cognitive activities of any kind until they are completely healed. Cognitive rest is particularly important for a successful recovery.

It is important also that children and teenagers be strictly monitored during this recovery time. There is a realization that the developing brains of young people requires special consideration. They need a longer period of rest with a more gradual return to activities than adults need.

The onus therefore, is on parents and coaches to ensure that these safeguards are heeded when it comes to children and adolescents. And it is good to remember that it is better to miss a game than to miss a whole season, or worse still, to live with lifetime consequences because of not taking the proper care when it should have been taken.

Ms. Behnish has published 'Rollercoaster Ride With Brain Injury (For Loved Ones)', a non-fiction book detailing the difficult year following a brain injury; 'His Sins', a three generation family saga about how the actions of one person can affect future generations, and 'Life's Challenges, A Short Story Collection'.

No comments:

Post a Comment