August 15, 2019

Taking Concussions Seriously is a No-Brainer

Family Medicine
General Health
Primary Care

The school bells will be ringing soon and your children will be back in the classroom. As your kids return to the fields or courts for another sports season, it is important to remember how to protect your kids, especially from concussions.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone is suffering from a concussion; not everyone loses consciousness! Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to many weeks and can range from mild to severe.  You should contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  • Thought Processes and Memory – Inability to think clearly, slower thinking, lack of concentration, inability to commit new information to memory
  • Physical – Dizziness, nausea and vomiting, blurry vision, headache, issues with balance, exhaustion
  • Emotional – Sad, nervous, more upset or angry than usual
  • Sleep – Sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty falling asleep

Younger children may also exhibit symptoms such as crying more often, changes in the way they act, nurse, eat or sleep.  They may lose interest in their favorite toys, have trouble walking, or lose newly developed skills, such as toilet training.

When treating a concussion, the participant should stop what they are doing and rest in order to prevent further injury. It is best if the person can be monitored for 24 hours.  The individual should be taken to the hospital if s/he experiences a worsening headache, continuous vomiting, and increased drowsiness, dizziness, or disorientation.  Heart palpitations, seizures, passing out, and neck pain after a fall are all signs that the person should be taken to the doctor.

The resting of the body is needed to decrease the symptoms of concussion, this includes complete brain rest, for example no texting, no computer work, anything that requires hard concentration.  In some cases this will include school work and homework.  This should be done until all symptoms resolve.  A step wise progression back into activity can be started when they are symptom free.  Return to sport should be determined by a healthcare professional.  If symptoms persist past 2 weeks post-concussion syndrome should be investigated by you and your healthcare provider.  The Concussion Care Clinic can help with the resolution of post-concussion symptoms at the Fort Healthcare Therapy and Sport Centers.

Whether you’re playing a sport, driving or riding on a motorcycle or snowmobile, or participating in risky activities such as biking, skateboarding, skiing, and horseback riding, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting a concussion; one no-brainer way to prevent head injuries is by wearing the proper safety equipment.  You can also reduce your child’s risk of getting a concussion by properly using car and booster seats and instilling safe practices and measures while riding their bike, playing at the playground, etc.

Fort HealthCare offers ImPACT concussion screenings—computerized neurocognitive assessment tools and services to determine if an athlete is fit enough to return to play after suffering from a concussion. ImPACT is highly recommended for people participating in contact sports, as individuals can take the baseline test which will establish that person’s normal score; should a concussion occur, the ImPACT can be re-administered to assist medical providers in making return-to-play decisions. You can find more information about ImPACT concussion screenings online or contact Fort HealthCare’s Therapy & Sport Center at (920) 563-9357 for an appointment.