When 24-year-old NFL player Chris Borland resigned last week, it placed the subject of concussions front and center once again. This successful football player made the choice to walk away from a great deal of money to protect the health of his brain.
Alzein Pediatric Associates knows that concussions are a serious health concern for people at any age, but they pose a special risk to children due to the size of their brain within their own skull.
What is a concussion?
A concussion occurs when your child’s brain bangs against his or her own skull and sustains damage; bruising, torn blood vessels or nerve injury. Helmets cannot prevent concussion.
Why should I be concerned?
Multiple concussions, even years apart, will cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which drastically impairs brain function and causes dementia.
How can a concussion happen?
Your child can get a concussion from almost any bump to the head; it doesn’t take a linebacker. A mild fall, a whiplash injury – any collision or “snap” of the head can cause a concussion. A blackout does not need to occur.
How do I know if my child has a concussion?
Concussions don’t always show up immediately, so watch your child for 72 hours after the fall or injury. Take your child to the emergency room if any of these symptoms occur:
• loss of consciousness or blackout
• you are unable to rouse or wake your child
• a severe headache, or a headache that gets worse
• blurred vision
• trouble walking or talking
• confusion or confused speech
How is a concussion treated?
Careful, watchful home care of physical and mental rest is appropriate for some concussions, while more severe concussions could require hospitalization or surgery. A concussion must be fully healed before returning to normal activities.
We know that as a parent, you struggle with many difficult decisions as your children grow and we know that sports participation can teach cooperation, leadership, goal-setting and much more.
If you’d like to speak to your doctor or PA at Alzein Pediatric Associates before you guide your child to a sport, we would be happy to help.