WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Concussions are an inherent part of collision sports such as football and soccer, but they are also common in skateboarding, falls from bike riding, cheerleading and, baseball. All concussion needs to be taken seriously, as it is a mild traumatic brain injury. If you suspect your child has suffered a concussion, they should not return to any exercise or sports without being cleared by their pediatrician or family practitioner. Notably, a child who has had one or more prior concussions is at a greater risk for more concussions because their brains are not yet fully developed and thus more vulnerable to injury.
If your child is in a team sport, it’s important that both you and your child’s coach are their advocates. Know that any time a player experiences a sign or symptom of a concussion—or is observed to have sustained a concussion by a teammate, coach, game official, or medical staff—he or she is required to leave the game immediately, without exception.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER A DIAGNOSED CONCUSSION?
Depending on the level of the concussion, the recovery may require longer neurologic recovery than others. You can expect that your child may suffer from headaches, have trouble concentrating, sleeping, and be irritable. It’s always best to stay in touch with your child’s physician, as he or she can determine if your child needs any adjustments with school or social activities.
HOSPITAL OR DOCTORS OFFICE?
Generally, a small bump on the head is not worrisome. However, a parent, spouse, or another family member should watch the child with a head injury. We are often asked when a child should go immediately to a hospital emergency room (ER). Below are some of the general guidelines for going straight to an ER after a head injury (not in order of priority):
- Loss of consciousness, confusion, or disorientation
- Feel numbness, dizziness, or weakness
- Suffered the injury at a high-speed car, bike accident, or a steep fall
- If they vomit or feel nauseated
- Have a headache that will not go away
- Having trouble balancing
- Loss of memory about the injury or things
- Slurred speech
- Had a seizure at or after head injury
“If there is ever a concern or doubt, call your PVMG physician or go straight to the emergency department,” says Dr. Sher, Medical Director, Palos Verdes Medical Group. “We have a physician on-call 24/7 for any after-hour needs.” If your child was seen at an emergency room and diagnosed with a concussion, it is vital that you follow up with your child’s primary physician.
PVMG is open seven days a week with extended evening hours. If you suspect your child has experienced a concussion, please visit us. Walk-ins are welcomed.