Health Blog

Concussion: My Kid Has a Head Injury!

School is in session and sports have started. This time of year is very exciting, but is also a time when kids are more prone to injury after a summer of relaxing. Today’s injury focus is on the head (i.e. concussions or traumatic brain injuries). Concussions are important to know about, so we can prevent them and keep our kids safe from further harm if they do get injured. The sports we usually see the most head injuries are typically football, soccer, and basketball.

What is a concussion?

  • A type of traumatic brain injury that changes the way the brain usually works. It can be caused by a hit, blow, bump, or any movement that causes the brain and head to move quickly back and forth.

What are the symptoms?

  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Confusion
  • Not feeling “right”
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability/mood changes

What are concussion danger signs?

  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Becomes increasingly confused, agitated, or drowsy
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Loses consciousness

What do I do if I think my child has a concussion?

  • Stop activity and seek medical attention
  • Rest is key:
    • Avoid all exercise, screen time, and mental activity (i.e. school, reading, homework)
    • Gradual return to mental and physical activity should take place over days and under the supervision of a health care provider
  • Inform your child’s school, so they can lighten coursework as needed upon your child’s return

Concussion myths:

I need to keep my child awake after a concussion.

MYTH! Rest is important to healing after a concussion. Seek emergency care if your child is overly drowsy or you are concerned they are acting odd.

I don’t have a concussion because the CT scan was normal.

MYTH! A CT scan will show any damage to the brain structures, but may not show a mild traumatic brain injury.

You can recover from a concussion in 24 hours.

MYTH! In fact, even if symptoms are gone, it typically takes the brain around seven days to fully recover from a concussion.

You can only diagnose a concussion if consciousness is lost.

MYTH! Many times, a person with a concussion does not lose consciousness; they still need to be monitored and returned to activity gradually.

For more information visit here.

Lori Nieboer, PA-C, MPH
Physician Assistant at Union High School Health Center