9 Things Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Sports Concussions

Nov 22, 2022
9 Things Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Sports Concussions
Bumps, bruises, and scrapes are part and parcel of growing up and usually aren’t cause for too much concern. Concussions and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries, however, can be problematic and affect many areas of your child’s health.

You try to protect your child as best you can, but kids have a way of injuring themselves as they begin to explore the world around them. While a parade of bumps, scrapes, and bruises is normal and mostly harmless, one area to which you should pay close attention is Brain Injuries. Concussions/Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries/Brain Injuries are terminologies often used interchangeably.

At Delaware NeuroRehab, Dr. Haresh Sampathkumar is a Brain Injury Specialist . To give you an idea of the dangers of Sports Concussions, we pulled together 10 things we feel parents should understand about concussions.

1. Beyond impact

A Concussion occurs when the brain is rocked back and forth inside the skull, causing it to twist and collide with the hard walls. While many assume a Concussion only occurs because of a direct impact on the head, Concussions can develop if there’s a sudden movement, such as when a child is shaken violently.

2. No need for a knockout

More often than not, Concussions don’t lead to a loss of consciousness, which is why understanding the symptoms is important.

3. Symptoms can be delayed

While the initial brain injury may lead to an outward and painful bump on your child’s head, symptoms of a Concussion can be slower in developing. Sometimes, symptoms show up a few hours after the injury, or they may develop a few days later. This is why you should closely monitor your child in the days following a potentially concussive event.

4. Common symptoms 

A Concussion’s symptoms can differ from child to child, but a headache that develops hours or days after the initial event is among the more common signs. They may also have neck pain, light sensitivity, vision problems, trouble reading, noise sensitivity, trouble sleeping, lightheadedness, impaired balance, cognitive issues (trouble thinking), foggy, slow thinking, trouble thinking, impaired speech, change in mood/behavior. 

5. Whiplash

Whiplash is an injury to the neck that happens as a result of sudden backward and forward movement. Your child can have a Whiplash without a Concussion and sometimes your child might have both. Whiplash is a milder injury compared to a Concussion. The symptoms of a Whiplash are very similar to a Concussion hence it’s important to differentiate between the two.

6. Recovery

Sports Concussion symptoms usually resolve within 1-2 weeks. Some children may have symptoms lasting longer than a month, sometimes even long-term. There are certain factors such as pre-injury headaches, learning difficulty, ADHD, mood issues, poor recovery expectation that can prolong recovery. .

Return to Play When a proper return to play protocol is not implemented, your child may be at high risk for prolonged recovery, or a Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). SIS happens when there is a new Brain Injury when the previous injury has not completely recovered, which can have fatal consequences. 

7. Girls are more vulnerable to concussions

Girls are more vulnerable to concussions than boys, and they tend to take longer to heal from these brain injuries. The reason behind the gender disparity is that the nerve fibers in the brains of females are thinner and more likely to break.

8. The danger of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)

Once your child has one concussion, it’s very important to avoid subsequent head trauma. CTE is a condition that develops after repeated trauma to the head and can lead to lifelong issues with emotional and behavioral dysfunction. 

For example, if your child incurs a concussion playing football and continues to play, they have a 30% risk for CTE for each year they play.

9. Early diagnosis and treatment of a concussion is paramount

Any time your child has an accident that involves their head or violent shaking of their head, it’s better to err on the side of caution and come see us. When a concussion goes undiagnosed, it goes untreated, which means your child’s brain may take longer to heal, or, in the worst-case scenario, it may not heal properly.

As Brain Injury experts, we have the experience and tools necessary to identify a concussion correctly. Should we find that your child has incurred a Brain Injury, we create a treatment plan that will help your child’s brain heal and address future protective measures.

Don’t hesitate to contact our Dover, Delaware office to learn more about pediatric concussions or schedule an appointment for your child.