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Concussion Care: Advocate for Your Student-Athlete

August 17, 2015


As parents we want nothing more than to protect our children, but unfortunately concussions can’t always be prevented. If your child suffers a concussion, you can be their best advocate by educating yourself and insisting on the best treatment options.

1. Educate yourself on concussions.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can occur after an impact to the head or after a whiplash-type injury. Though usually not life threatening, it’s important to know when and how to seek treatment. Signs or symptoms of concussion include:

  • Brief loss of consciousness after the injury
  • Headaches or nausea
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Balance problems
  • Slowed reaction to stimuli
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dazed, confused or slow conversation
  • Emotional changes, feeling or acting depressed, sad, nervous or irritable

2. Know the law.

The ‘Safety in Youth Sports Act’ was signed into Pennsylvania law in November 2011 to protect student-athletes from serious head injuries. The law covers all athletes in interscholastic athletics at public schools, athletic competitions other than interscholastic athletics that are sponsored by or associated with a public school, practices, interschool activities and sports activities. Key points of the law include:

  • Standards for managing concussions and other brain injuries
  • Immediate removal from play in case of suspected concussion
  • Return to play is prohibited until the student has been medically cleared
  • Required annual training and penalties for coaches who don’t comply

3. Understand rehabilitation treatment options.

If your child suffers a head injury, seek treatment from a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in concussion treatment. He or she will evaluate your child’s injury and symptoms and prescribe an individualized treatment plan, which may include:

  • ImPACT testing
  • Vision therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech-language therapy
  • Vestibular and balance therapy
  • Neuropsychology
  • BrainSteps Program participation (for school re-entry)

4. Speak up.

Remember you are your child’s number one advocate, and he or she needs you on their side to prevent long-lasting complications of a concussion. Be confident in your knowledge about concussions, the law and treatment options, and share your knowledge with others. Ask questions of your child’s medical provider, and insist on high quality rehabilitation treatment.

To learn more about our Comprehensive Concussion Program or to request an appointment, please call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422).