Backyard Sports Cares is excited to announce a strategic partnership with PM Pediatrics, a leading specialized urgent care practice for patients from cradle through college. Together we will further our commitment to enhancing the health and well-being of the children and families in our community.
When in doubt, sit out! With Spring sports in full swing, patients are coming into PM Pediatrics with a variety of head injuries. Parents wants to know if their child has a concussion and whether or not they should continue to play sports and gym. A concussion is any injury to the brain that disrupts normal brain function on a temporary or permanent basis. They can occur from trauma to the head such as a collision with the ground, a wall, a goalpost, or a ball that has been thrown, hit, or kicked. Concussions also occur outside of sports, from falling down to hitting your head on a step while walking.
Signs and Symptoms – your child’s trauma may not be witnessed directly:
- Your child may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, visual disturbances, dizziness or feeling “foggy.”
- Others may note that your child has a dazed appearance, problems with balance or speech or the presence of amnesia.
- Loss of consciousness is clearly indicative of a concussion, but since loss of consciousness occurs in 10% of concussions, its absence does not rule out a concussion.
If you suspect that your child has had a concussion, call your pediatrician right away. The patient should not play until evaluated by a physician. The doctor can determine if further tests should be done (CT scan, MRI, or neuropsychological tests). Returning to play too soon can lead to another concussion or even more serious outcomes.
What should I tell my doctor? It is important to tell the doctor exactly how the head trauma occurred; if the patient lost consciousness and what symptoms they are experiencing. They should also be told if the patient has a history of prior concussion, as they may be more susceptible to another injury.
Treatment. The best treatment for a concussion is complete REST both physically and mentally. There is no need to wake the child up during sleep but they should be monitored often. Complete brain rest is crucial including TV, texting, computers, music, reading and writing. School activities may be modified or postponed including tests, projects and gym/recess. Worsening of symptoms or changes in behavior should be immediately reported to your doctor.
Returning to physical activity. Patients should “sit out” all activity until symptoms have completely resolved at rest. A stepwise plan to return to activity should be progressive and individualized by the patient’s doctor. Recovery time varies from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the concussion and history of prior concussions. If any symptom returns with exertion, it’s a clear indicator that the concussion has not healed.
Prevention. Head injuries will happen, but using helmets can help prevent them. Helmets should be worn and fitted properly. Educating athletes on safe playing techniques and what symptoms to watch out for is crucial. Athletes must let their coach, athletic trainer, or parent know if they have hit their head or have symptoms of a head injury.