KC Parent: Top Five Things Parents Should Know About Concussions
By Lauren Greenlee
For every kid eager to hit the gridiron, there’s a parent anxious about what might happen to him. Injuries can be par for the course with any physical activity, and chances are, you know someone (or are someone) who has experienced a concussion, a brain injury caused by a mild blow or jolt to the head. Thankfully, with increased information, many brain injuries that take place are now being properly diagnosed. Here’s what you need to be aware of as your child gets ready to hit the field.
Symptoms Might Not Be What You Think
Many people erroneously think that a concussion can’t be sustained unless an athlete loses consciousness. Interestingly, only 10 percent of those who experience a concussion black out. Because every brain injury is unique, reactions to it can be as well. However, Dr. Brian Harvey of Children’s Mercy’s Sports Medicine Center says one tell-tale sign impacts almost all concussion recipients: headache. “The number one symptom an athlete experiences after sustaining a concussion is a headache,” Harvey says. “More than 90 percent of concussions will have a headache. That means there are some athletes, 10 percent or so, who experience more dizziness, sensitivity to light or noise, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, difficulty with concentration or focus as their predominant symptom. Any or all of these symptoms could worsen with physical or mental activity and may indicate the athlete has suffered a concussion. It is important to be evaluated if there is a concern for a concussion.”
There’s truly no way to prevent all concussions from taking place, but parents, coaches and athletes can do their part to mitigate risks. Coaches can start by instructing athletes on proper technique and form when playing sports. Athletes should be fitted and wear all proper safety equipment, as well as abide by the rules and report all concussion symptoms. Parents can keep a watchful eye and take children in for a proper evaluation should symptoms arise.
Who’s at Greatest Risk?
- Females (compared to male counterparts)
- Younger children (due to underdeveloped brains)
- Those with previous concussions or TBIs
- Athletes during games (opposed to during practice)
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Learn more about Sports Medicine at Children's Mercy