Get the Heads Up on Child Athlete Concussions
November 29, 2016


School sports cause a number of bumps and bruises, but certain injuries can be more severe. For example, many football players get knocked around the field and have their heads banged up. After these types of instances, many football players fall victim to concussions, which can cause lifelong problems.

What is a Concussion?

The medical community defines this type of injury as a traumatic disturbance of brain function. It happens when an outside source causes a negative force on the brain. Even a mild concussion can disrupt normal brain function and can take a long time to heal.

Symptoms of a Concussion

At most sporting events, a medical professional is available to deal with injuries. These individuals are trained and have the experience to recognize signs of a concussion.

  • Loss of Consciousness. Even if a child loses consciousness for a sort period of time, it can mean that a concussion is likely.
  • Personality Changes. If a child has been hurt in the head and suddenly feels sad or nervous, a concussion may have affected the brain.
  • Sleeping Problems.
  • Confusion.
  • Forgetfulness. If a child suddenly begins forgetting things that are part of a normal everyday routine, a concussion may be to blame.

It is essential to seek immediate medical attention if a child:

  • Begins to have seizures
  • Suffers nausea/vomiting
  • Experiences a weak or numb feeling
  • Is easily confused or agitated
  • Speaks with slurred speech

Recovery is Key

When a child experiences a concussion, recovery time is vital. During healing, the brain is vulnerable to long-term cognitive effects. If a person suffers another hit, he or she may develop Second Impact Syndrome. This may result in a coma or death.

What to Expect During Recovery

During recovery, a child may experience a variety of symptoms. Your child may be tired, have headaches, or find it challenging to sleep. Depression and poor concentration may be likely as well. It may be necessary to make special arrangements with your child’s teacher so that he or she is allowed more time for assignments or to take a few days off. Also, you should provide additional support and encouragement to eliminate frustration during this time away from sports and friends.

The entire recovery process varies from person to person, but most concussions heal in 10 days. With student athletes, prolonged recovery is necessary to accommodate developing brains. Under certain circumstances, it may take weeks to return to normal actions. Your doctor will offer medical recommendations that must be followed.

How to Prevent Another Concussion

Although it is impossible to completely prevent multiple concussions, wearing protective gear may help. Also, it is important to participate in fair play. Coaches and officials must follow all sporting rules and teach the correct form of exercise at practice. Being careful will go a long way toward repetitive injuries and may prevent long-term problems.