Head for Safety
Treat concussion injuries with care
By Joel Brenner, MD
Concussions are among the most dangerous sport-related injuries children can suffer. Many people believe that a concussion occurs only when a child loses consciousness – or “passes out.” This is not the case. While a child who loses consciousness after a blow to the head will almost certainly have a concussion, most children with concussions do not pass out.
Some children with concussions may have very mild symptoms, but every concussion represents an injury to the brain.
A child who shows any signs of a concussion should be removed from play immediately and evaluated by a physician before returning to play, even if the child insists he or she is feeling fine.
A child who shows any signs of a concussion should be removed from play immediately
and evaluated by a physician before returning to play, even if the child insists
he or she is feeling fine.
The most common symptoms of concussions are:
memory loss (asking questions like “what happened?”)
appearing stunned or “in a fog”
difficulty concentrating (especially in school)
Young athletes are taught to be tough, but this is not a time to let them “shake it off.” A second blow to the head before the first one has healed could result in permanent, catastrophic brain injury – even death.
How long it takes to recover from a concussion varies from child to child. One tool that can be used to determine the severity of a concussion and how a child is recovering is the ImPACT test, a non-invasive, computerized analysis of a child’s neurocognitive functioning (reaction time, attention span, memory, problem-solving, etc.).
ImPACT testing is available at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and our Health Center locations at Strawbridge and Greenbrier. •••
By Dr. Brenner
, co-director of CHKD's Sports Medicine program, is a sports medicine and adolescent
medicine specialist with Children's Specialty Group PLLC at CHKD.