Know Why, When and How to Seek Help for Concussion
School bells are ringing, and summer is unofficially over. As students return to the classroom, playground and sports field, it is the perfect time to review the seriousness of concussions - their causes, symptoms and obtaining the right treatment.
Any accident that jars the head can cause a concussion, a type of brain injury. Usually the result of a fall or collision, a concussion also can occur when the head is shaken or whipped back, causing the brain to smack the inside of the skull.
One can sustain a serious injury – and suffer long-term side effects – without ever losing consciousness. Rising slowly from a fall, having trouble lining up, moving erratically or sluggishly may indicate a concussion. Any athlete suspected of having one should not play the rest of the day, and visit a doctor or emergency room as soon as possible. Also, for at least 24 hours, rest completely – both body and mind. This means no:
- Extracurricular activities
- Computer/TV viewing
Most concussion symptoms resolve within seven to 10 days. Signs that the child might need more intense treatment include:
- Physical symptoms (on-going headaches, visual disturbance, nausea, persistent fatigue, light or sound sensitivity)
- Difficulty with thought processes (mental fogginess, difficulty concentrating or remembering, slowed conversations, emotional changes, feeling or acting depressed or sad, nervousness, irritability, crying easily)
- Sleeping more or less than usual or difficulty falling or staying asleep
If symptoms persist, seek treatment from health-care providers with experience in evaluating and treating concussions. Led by a pediatric rehabilitation physician who specializes in brain injury, the Pediatric Concussion Clinic at Good Shepherd has the area’s largest number of brain-injury certified physical, occupational and speech therapists. A pediatric clinical neuropsychologist, who is an expert in brain/behavior relationships, supports them.
Following a thorough evaluation, the child’s rehabilitation team should develop a treatment plan that includes one or more of the following services: medical, neuropsychological, cognitive, physical, occupational, speech, vision, vestibular (balance) therapy and headache management.
At Good Shepherd, our supportive team works toward the common goal of helping the child recover from a concussion on all levels – physically, mentally and emotionally.