Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Doctors Are in; Recognizing Concussions: Information for Parents, Caregivers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Doctors Are in; Recognizing Concussions: Information for Parents, Caregivers

Article excerpt

Byline: Jennifer Fishe

Recent media attention on concussions in professional athletes has caused many parents and caregivers to have safety concerns regarding football and other sports. While researchers work to determine concussions' long-term effects on players from Pop Warner to the NFL, it is important parents and caregivers know how to recognize a concussion.

Concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by quick, forceful movement of the brain inside the skull. That movement causes chemical changes in the brain and may cause damage to brain cells. Concussions may happen after falls, car crashes or other types of injuries. While not typically life-threatening, concussions require quick recognition and proper treatment for your child to fully recover.

How do you recognize a concussion in your child? Signs and symptoms include:

- Can't recall what occurred before or after the event

- Appears dazed or confused

- Moves clumsily

- Answers questions slowly

- Has mood, behavior, or personality changes ("I feel down" or "I don't feel right")

- Headache or head "pressure"

- Nausea or vomiting

- Balance problems

- Dizziness

- Blurry or double vision

- Sensitivity to light or noise

Concussion symptoms may manifest immediately after the injury, or may be delayed for hours or even days. If someone has signs or symptoms of a concussion, they should be removed from play immediately. Just remember, when in doubt, sit them out. Continuing to play after a concussion can delay the brain from healing or cause even more serious injury. It is not normal to "have your bell rung" and it is not helpful to "shake it off."

Caregivers should also watch for signs of a more serious brain injury, such as:

- Loss of consciousness

- One pupil larger than the other

- Extreme drowsiness or inability to be woken up

- Increased confusion or agitation

- Repeated vomiting

- Shaking or twitching

- Slurred speech, weakness, numbness

If you suspect a concussion is suspected, the child should be evaluated by a professional trained in concussion management (such as an athletic trainer, coach, or physician). …

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