09 Jun When in Doubt, Sit Them Out!
School is out, summer’s in session, and the local high school football team is already practicing for their next season. Sports are a pretty big deal here in DFW, especially for kids. And why shouldn’t they be? Sports are a great way to have fun while staying active, build discipline and leadership skills, learn how to be a team player, and improve self-confidence, among other things. At the same time, participating in sports comes with some risks, particularly in collision sports like football, soccer, and hockey. One of those risks is getting a concussion, and that’s one risk that needs to be taken seriously.
Essentially, a concussion is a brain injury, and it’s usually caused by a blow to the head (while this tends to happen in collision sports, it can also happen during other activities, like if you get in an accident while riding your bike). Concussions disrupt normal brain function, and making sure your child is treated properly before going back on the playing field is incredibly important. Here’s what you should look for.
Look for the Signs
Luckily, there are lots of signs you can look for that can hint at whether or not your child has had a concussion.
An athlete may have suffered a concussion if they:
- Lose consciousness
- Are acting confused or forgetful
- Have trouble maintaining balance or steadiness
- Have slow responses
If your young athlete is complaining of the following, have them get checked out by a health care professional immediately:
- Blurred or double vision
- Light or noise sensitivity
A common belief is that you only get a concussion if you get knocked out, but that is NOT TRUE. In fact, the majority of athletes who suffer a concussion on the playing field will not lose consciousness.
If you suspect that your child has had a concussion, your child should be removed from the playing field immediately. If your child continues to participate in activity after having a concussion and then receives a second concussion, they could suffer long-term negative consequences or even death. Before your child can return to the field, they need to be seen by an experienced doctor who can diagnose if they’ve actually suffered a concussion and provide appropriate treatment. The doctor will let you know when it’s safe for your child to participate again.
Off the Playing Field
In addition to negatively affecting performance on the playing field, concussions can also impact your child in the classroom. When the brain is recovering from a concussion, it needs to rest—cognitive and physical exertion can worsen already existing symptoms. That means that school attendance and homework loads may need to be modified while your child is recovering. But that doesn’t mean they get to sit at home and watch TV all day; texting, watching TV, and playing video games also require cognitive exertion that should be avoided until your child is no longer experiencing symptoms.
For more information on the web, visit tsrhc.org and healthychildren.org. If you have questions or would like to discuss any concerns you have regarding concussions, you can schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Kathryn Mandal, by calling 817-617-8600 or scheduling online at continuumtx.com.