A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. In sports, this is mainly the result of hard hits to the head during play. And although concussions can occur in any game – a child might fall and hit their head or get hit by a ball – head injuries are far more likely to happen in contact sports, most notably tackle football and ice hockey.
Because sports-related concussions get a lot of attention for their long-term physical and mental effects, it’s important for parents and coaches to prevent them and treat them as soon as possible successfully. However, the first step is always detection, and everyone involved in youths sports should know if a child has a concussion or not.
Signs and Symptoms
Most people associate concussions with loss of consciousness, but it doesn’t happen in every situation. Concussions can be medically labeled as severe even when a person doesn’t experience a brief “blackout.” If you suspect a child may be suffering from a concussion during a game or practice session, stop the play immediately and get the child checked out by a medical professional.
There are many signs and symptoms of a concussion, and after a suspicious bang to the head always check the child for:
- loss of consciousness;
- a sudden and severe headache (both during and after play);
- worsening headaches that last several days;
- blurred vision and inability to follow movement;
- disorientation and troubled walking;
- dizziness and confusion;
- slurred speech and lack of concentration;
- unresponsiveness (when you are unable to wake your child up).
After inspecting the child for any of these symptoms, take them immediately to the emergency room. Once there, a doctor can determine the severity of the concussion and prescribe the right treatment for the injury.
Also, keep in mind that some symptoms might not show themselves immediately after the impact to the head, and can develop within 72 hours. During this time, monitor your child or take them to their physician as a preventive measure.
Treatment of Concussions
Every concussion is unique, as are its signs and symptoms and level of intensity. That’s why treatment of a concussion depends on the child, their condition and the situation when the shock occurred.
In case of mild concussions, most frequent in youth sports, doctors will usually prescribe physical and mental rest. Kids will likely have to avoid sports for a while, as well as school. At home, they should occupy their time with only necessary activities, making sure they reduce stress on the brain and body. Parents should also look to prepare healthier meals instead of their usual diet.
In worse case scenarios, parents should take their children to the hospital where doctors can run detailed tests to determine the severity of the injury. After that, they can prescribe the best treatment for your child.
Prevention is the first line of defense when dealing with concussions. Parents and coaches should make kids aware of the injury, and teach them to be safe in sports.
Coaches should get the first-aid certification and teach young athletes how to tackle opponents properly. Parents should provide their children with protective regulation gear for the sport.
The safety of your child and the safety of other kid on the field should always be a top priority for everyone involved in youth sports. And knowing how to detect a concussion can make that possible.