In 2014, the NCAA released new safety guidelines on football hitting and concussions, spurred on by the news making lawsuits brought by some well known professional football players and their families. With the death of Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge, who suffered from multiple concussions and then tragically took his own life, lawsuits, new laws and awareness have increased around the long term effects of concussions and traumatic brain injury. Up until this point, the effects of traumatic brain injury had not been in the forefront. How to know if your child has a concussion? We’re asked this question often.
This new awareness has created a trickle down effect, touching Pop Warner youth leagues, high school and college football coaches and teams, all the way up to the NFL and AFL, and not only football. Wrestling, soccer, field and ice hockey, basketball and cheerleading all have the risk of concussion.
Since the dust has settled, Massachusetts and many other states, passed concussion guidelines and laws requiring coaches,trainers, phys-ed teachers and anyone working with student athletes or professional athletes to under-go training on concussion symptoms and what to look for, how to treat, and how to educate their athletes on the dangers of concussions and head injuries caused by severe blows to the head.
In the midst of fall sports season, we are even more aware of the dangers of extensive head trauma and we have some specific tips that you can be aware of if your child has had a blow to the head. Please be aware that if your child displays any of the symptoms listed below, he or she should be seen immediately by a doctor. Urgent care can be a great solution in a case like this as timing is very important when it comes to concussions. The next 24-48 hours are crucial.
How to know if your child has a concussion
Watch for these symptoms :
- excessive sleep
- increased lethargy
- slurred speech
If any of these symptoms are occurring its very important that you bring your child in for a comprehensive concussion exam, sooner rather than later.
What your pediatrician should be looking for in a concussion exam:
The doctor will conduct a neurological exam to accompany the concussion screening, during which they will check for loss of coordination, watch for difficulty in answering simple factual questions and observe the child for signs of confusion, fatigue or lethargy. These are some of the screening questions they will ask:
- Has there been a loss of consciousness?
- Where (on the head) the injury took place
- Has there been nausea or vomiting prior to seeing the doctor?
- Has the athlete experienced either retrograde or anterograde amnesia?
What should you as a parent be doing?
Continue to observe your athlete over the next few days for these signs. Any symptoms such as increased confusion, slurred speech, excessive sleep or ongoing lethargy are signs that your athlete may have suffered a concussion.
Watch this AFC Urgent Care Medical Minute on concussion and traumatic brain injury prevention and education.
The majority of head blows do not, in fact, result in concussions. If, following an exam, the results are normal, the typical protocol is for the child to take a few days off and then return to their normal activities or sports.
If your child has received a head blow, and you’re unsure of whether this is a concussion or not, feel free to come in and be seen by one of our providers. Walk in, no appointment necessary. We are located at 117a Stafford Street in Worcester, and are open 7 days per week, Mondays-Fridays from 8am-8pm and on weekends from 8am-5pm.