Wondering what to do if your child has a possible concussion? If the signs of a brain injury are there, or if you’re just worried, it’s not something to wait and think about.
A concussion isn’t a mere bump on the head, but it can be caused by one. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that that from 2010 to 2016, an estimated 283,000 children came to emergency rooms each year for sports- or recreation-related traumatic brain injuries. Injuries from contact sports accounted for nearly half (45%) of those visits.
The culprits? Accidents while playing football, bicycling, basketball, playground activities, and soccer.
First, Protect Your Kid’s Head
Sports are fantastic, but they do require adherence to some rules. As a parent, one of the best practices you can encourage is making your child wear a properly fitted helmet. Wearing one is, as the CDC puts it, “a must to reduce the risk of serious brain injury or skull fracture.”
Still, there’s no such thing as a “concussion proof” helmet. Avoiding hits to the head is the best prevention there is, which means that the coach, and team, must follow safety rules.
Suspect your child has a concussion?
Get Medical Help, FAST
If your child has suffered a blow to her head, she should be removed from play immediately and monitored for signs of drowsiness, headache, disorientation, or loss of consciousness. A visit to the ER or urgent care is advisable.
What if you find out your child is concussed?
Keep Them Out of Play
We’re not saying to take them out of sports forever, but the brain takes time to heal. Never let your child return to play the day of the injury. A return to play too soon can lead to a second concussion, and a repeated or later concussion can be serious, resulting in permanent brain damage. Let a doctor determine when they can play again.
Additionally, be sure to inform your child’s coach about the injury, even if it happened while playing a different sport. It’s vital to avoid repeated brain injuries.
Returning to School After a Concussion
According to the CDC, your child, post-concussion, might need some assistance in returning to school. It recommends:
- Take rest breaks as needed
- Spend fewer hours at school
- Be given more time to take tests or complete assignments
- Receive help with schoolwork
- Reduce time spent reading, writing, or on the computer
Be sure to speak to your child’s teacher about the injury and make these adjustments.