HKQ Kids

GET A HEAD START ON PREVENTING CONCUSSIONS

Accidents happen. During practice or a game of your child’s fall sport of choice, imagine that they take a fall or a bump to the head. In most cases, the blow to the head is likely mild, and any pain or uncomfortableness will subside shortly. Sometimes, a collision that seems mild can end up having serious ramifications. Whether it happens on the field, on the playground, or at home, head injuries can lead to concussions, and it’s important to understand what this means and how to reduce the risk of concussions to your child.

Concussions are invisible. Basically, a concussion occurs when an impact is strong enough to cause the brain to strike up against the inside of the skull. It isn’t possible to tell just from the impact if a person is concussed; it’s the symptoms afterwards you should look out for. These can show up both immediately after the injury, or up to days or weeks later. This includes:

  • Confusion, dizziness, memory problems
  • Lasting pain or pressure in the head
  • Vision issues
  • Balance issues
  • A sensitivity to noise and/or light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness for any amount of time

In the event of any of these symptoms, seek medical attention for your child as soon as possible. If you weren’t there to see the injury happen in real time, make sure to pay attention to how your child is feeling and ask them about the incident. In youth sports, concussions most commonly occur in those playing fast-paced sports where contact is either a required or likely aspect of the game: football, soccer, ice or field hockey, lacrosse, etc. However, any sport or activity can lead to injury, including concussions, if the proper safety measures aren’t taken. Concussions can still occur even if all rules and regulations are being followed, so be aware and be proactive. To lessen the likelihood of concussions:

  • Learn and be aware of the signs and symptoms listed above
  • In sports, follow the coach’s rules when it comes to protective gear
  • In other recreational activities, take similar precautions; when biking, skateboarding, rollerskating, etc., always wear protective gear, including helmets
  • Ensure that your child’s gear is properly fitting and well-maintained, especially helmets and eye/mouth guards, but also padding, shin guards, etc.
  • Practice car and driving safety, as always; seat-belts, booster seats, and car seats are designed in part to prevent head injuries

It’s important to make sure that after a head injury, your child should avoid strenuous physical activity, including any practices or games until they are tested for a concussion by a medical professional. If a concussion took place, the brain needs time to heal. Additional injury can worsen your child’s condition and/or lead to a second concussion; you should know that anyone who’s experienced a concussion is more susceptible to experiencing another in the future. Your child may need time off from school or an adjusted schedule/workload if they are concussed. Follow the advice of their medical caregiver and be cautious when it comes to resuming the activity that caused the concussion. It’s better to miss a few games than to risk further injury, which can lead to long-term complications.

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