When you have a child who decides to participate in competitive sports, you may worry about the potential injuries they may suffer while engaging in those sports. What you may not know is that concussions are among the most prevalent and potentially most troublesome sports injuries around. And while it is impossible to completely prevent your student athlete from ever sustaining a concussion when playing sports, there are steps you can take to ensure that you can identify the signs of concussions and get your child the treatment they may need to properly recover from a concussion.
What Is A Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs due to a blow to the head. This can occur due to a hard tackle in football, falling to the floor in volleyball or basketball, or accidentally getting hit in the head with a ball, among many other potential scenarios.
Essentially, a concussion is like a bruise on your child's brain and can also cause damage to nerves or blood vessels. Most concussions are relatively minor, though they can develop into more severe injuries, and repeated concussions can cause other health issues in the future including a form of dementia known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
What Do You Need To Look Out For?
When you are at your child's game and they get a bump on the head, it does not always mean they have a concussion. However, there are signs and behaviors that may indicate they are concussed. For example, if your child loses consciousness, even for a short period of time, they likely have a concussion or other TBI (traumatic brain injury).
Additionally, any appearance of confusion or appearing lost can indicate that something isn't right. After the game, if you notice you child's eyes are not focusing or they are not tracking well (their eyes are not following objects), their speech is slurred or not making sense, or they complain of headaches or nausea, you will want to take them to a medical professional to have their condition assessed.
How Are Concussions Treated?
When you take your child to the doctor and it is determined that they have a concussion, your child's doctor will assign the concussion a level between one and three. A level one concussion is the mildest, while three is the most severe. The level of concussion will determine the course of treatment.
However, monitoring and pain management are almost always the primary treatment options immediately following a concussion. If your child has a higher level concussion, they may need to stay in the doctor's office or hospital for observation for a few hours or even longer to ensure that no serious complications arise. Otherwise, you may be tasked with monitoring their behavior and condition at home for any further changes.
Your child will likely be able to take pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for discomfort as prescribed by a doctor. Of course, rest is an important part of the recovery process as well. Be sure to ask the doctor how long your child should wait before resuming practice following their head injury so that you know what to tell their coaches.
Very rarely, concussions develop into more serious conditions such as an active brain bleed. In these cases, a person would need surgery to drain the blood and relieve the pressure from the brain. However, more than likely, this is a complication you will never have to deal with with your student athlete.
For more information, contact Procare Physical Therapy or a similar organization.Share