Children who are in sports are more at risk for a concussion. We tend to think that kids are “made of rubber”, but that is far from true as serious brain trauma can happen at any time. Many continue to play and experience repeat concussions. At least 10 percent of athletes suffer a concussion every season and that figure may double for football players. In addition to playing sports, active children also are at risk for concussions during activities that include skateboarding, biking and skating.
Although concussions are generally thought to be trivial brain injuries, recent studies have demonstrated that even the minor concussions may produce negative effects on the athlete’s concentration, memory, emotions & reaction time.
Post-concussive syndrome has been well-validated as a debilitating condition that can affect children, adolescents and young adults who have been repeatedly traumatized while playing sports. It is important to know the symptoms of concussions to protect children from returning to play too soon. Some of those symptoms are:
- Memory difficulties
- Slowed thinking
- Change in sleep
- Ringing in ears
- Mood changes
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light or sounds
These symptoms may appear immediately, some time after the injury or recur with exertion until the brain has recovered. Talk to your child’s physician if you notice any of these symptoms of a concussion. Whether or not the child lost consciousness is not the only indicator of concussion. Rather, amnesia followed by confusion are more reliable indicators.
If your child is an athlete, be sure to work with your child’s doctor, coach or trainer to determine when it is safe for your child to return to play. Returning to play too soon after a concussion can result in more serious brain injury.
(Written with help from the brainline.org & The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton.)