As we approach the muchly anticipated spring season, we start to dust off the cobwebs on our toys….bikes, roller blades, motorcycles, scooters, etc. We are posting on Concussions this month, to prepare you and your family for the upcoming season.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury that cannot be seen on routine x-rays, CT scans or MRIs. Any blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body that jars the head, could cause a concussion.
What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
Symptoms of a concussion can appear immediately or a few days after the impact. Concussions can appear as a variety of symptoms, and each person might experience concussion in a different way. It is typical to experience one or more of the following symptoms:
PHYSICAL • Dizziness • Nausea or vomiting • “Pressure in the head” • Headache • Balance problems • Sensitivity to light • Neck pain • Seizure or convulsion • Blurred vision • Loss of consciousness
COGNITIVE • Sensitivity to noise • Feeling slowed down • Fatigue or low energy • Difficulty remembering • Confusion • Drowsiness • Difficulty concentrating • Amnesia
EMOTIONAL • Irritability • Nervous or anxious • More emotional • Feeling like in a “fog” • “Don’t feel right” • Sadness
SLEEP • Insomnia – unable to sleep • Poor sleep quality • Sleeping too much
What should I do if I suspect a concussion?
Anyone with a suspected concussion should be checked out by a medical doctor. If any red flag symptoms are present, get medical help immediately. If the person is unconscious, call an ambulance. Do not move the person or remove any equipment, such as a helmet, in case of a spine injury.
How long does a concussion last?
The symptoms of a concussion often start to improve within 10-14 days, but may last longer. In some cases, it can take weeks or months to heal. If you have had a concussion before, you may take longer to heal the next time.
How is a concussion treated?
Care for a concussion can involve a variety of treatments and a team of health professionals, depending on the symptoms and how a person’s condition improves. Common recommendations would include rest in the early days, followed by a gradual return to activity under the supervision of a medical professional.
Person complains of neck pain • Deteriorating conscious state • Increasing confusion or irritability • Severe or increasing headache • Repeated vomiting • Unusual behavior change • Seizure or convulsion • Double vision • Weakness or tingling / burning in arms or legs
Myth vs Fact
- Helmets can protect against concussions….FALSE. There is no helmet available to make your child concussion-proof.
- My child didn’t get hit on the head, so there’s no way he has a concussion….FALSE. A hit does not have to be directly to the head in order to result in a concussion.
- As long as I keep my child out of sports until she’s better, she can do anything else….FALSE. Concussions require mental and physical rest, beyond avoiding the activity where the concussion occurred.
- As long as my child rests, it is not necessary to see a doctor….FALSE. Concussions are injuries – they are best treated by someone with experience.
- If my child did not lose consciousness, he probably doesn’t have a concussion….FALSE. Concussions do not always include a loss of consciousness and symptoms can take time to emerge.