As a parent of an athlete, it’s common to worry about any sports-related injury. Have you heard the phrase, “You just got your bell rung…walk it off and get back in the game?” Not so fast. As a parent, you need to know how to help your child get back on the playing field after a concussion. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a direct blow to the head, face, or neck. According to protectthebrain.org, an estimated 1.6-3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year. That’s a lot of bells ringing.
Know the Signs of a Concussion
Jason Hix, MD a concussion care provider at OSMC, explained that concussion symptoms usually appear within minutes of the injury. “Please know, however, that some symptoms may take several hours to occur, and any athlete who has lost consciousness during a sports-related impact should be examined for a concussion,” Dr. Hix stated.
Dr. Hix said a headache is the most common complaint of an athlete with a concussion. “If you suspect your child has suffered a concussion, observe them for the following symptoms, which may worsen with stress or activity.”
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment
- Forgets plays
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even temporarily)
- Shows behavior or personality change
- Forgets events prior to hit (retrograde)
- Forgets events after hit (anterograde)
What to do if you suspect a concussion in your child:
- Do not allow them to return to any sporting event.
- Your child should rest until there is a resolution of symptoms. Rest allows the brain to recover. Rest involves allowing time to sleep or taking frequent naps.
- Minimize distractions, such as television, Internet, reading, or phone use.
- It is unnecessary to wake your child up every hour. Waking them will disturb sleep patterns, which can interfere with the healing process of the brain.
- Do not leave your child alone following the injury, as you should monitor symptoms closely. If they worsen, your child may need to be evaluated in the emergency room to determine if a more severe brain injury exists.
Did you know? OSMC is the only facility in Michiana with credentialed ImPACT consultants. With the ImPACT system, an athlete takes an initial test to establish their reaction-time baseline. After a head injury, a second exam is administered in conjunction with a physical evaluation. The test results and the evaluation are used to determine when the athlete can safely return to play.
For more information about OSMC’s concussion care, check out https://www.osmc.com/services-specialties/concussion-care/.