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Know Why, When and How to Seek Help for Concussion

December 24, 2015


With Will Smith’s new blockbuster, “Concussion,” shining a Hollywood-sized spotlight on the neurological condition, 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:

  • School
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Homework
  • Reading
  • Computer/TV viewing

Most concussion symptoms resolve within 7 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.

To learn more about rehabilitation after a concussion or other brain injury, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422).