You can never have too much information when it comes to your brain and your child’s. You as a parent, have all the information you need to understand concussions.
Here is some very basic information about concussions that you as a PARENT should know to understand fully the impact of the fastest growing injury in sport. It is one thing to break a bone, or tear a ligament; it is another to break your brain. The mind is the most precious gift!
First what I recommend when an athlete is injured, they or their parent keep a concussion diary. This is so important as to be able to recall how the concussion happened, what symptoms were felt at the time of the injury and then what diagnosis the doctor made and what therapy was and is being administered. Also it is important to write down feelings, new symptoms and changes that the injured athlete is going through during the days until they become symptom free. Writing down triggers just as loudness make the athlete feel like this, bright lights, or simple exertion causes headaches are some examples. This gives the medical staff that is working with the athlete the ability to understand the injury better.
In the North America, over 350,000 sports-related concussions occur annually. The likelihood of an athlete suffering a concussion while playing a contact/collision sport is estimated to be as high as 19% per year. More than 62,000 concussions occur each year in high-school contact sports, and among college football players, 34% have had one concussion and 20%, multiple concussions. The numbers are very similar for hockey players.
Sports-related concussion estimates vary across studies. Earlier research estimated that about 6% of athletes incurred a concussion each season.
However, as results from more studies on concussion began to appear in the popular media, there was also an increase in the reporting of concussions and concussion-like conditions. Recent studies of high school sports involving contact or collision estimate 15% to 20% of participating athletes will suffer a concussion.
That is a rate of about 1 in every 5 athletes.
Concussions are common and often unrecognized by most people – most athletes won’t know that they have had one. This is why it is important, as a coach, to assess the player’s condition after an injury has occurred.
“When in doubt, sit them out”
No player should be allowed to play if symptomatic; brain injuries can last a lifetime, playing the game does not.
Please note: The above list is not exhaustive nor does having one or more of these symptoms mean that someone has a concussion. It is merely a guide to possible concussive symptoms. It is important to seek medical attention immediately to receive a diagnosis.
*The symptoms that an athlete experiences after a concussion are often unique to the individual. It is important to consider that every injury is different (symptoms and time to recovery).
Concussions: Parents Are Critical Participants in Recognition, Treatment, Recovery
The subject of sports concussions has been in the news a lot lately. But while the recent media focus has been on hits to the head in the National Football League which have led to player fines and, most recently, a suspension, and to legislative action at the state and federal level on return to play guidelines, the important role parents play after their kids suffer concussions hasn’t received the same kind of attention.
The fact is that an athlete’s parents, along with teachers, coaches, school nurses and administrators, play a crucial role in a child’s treatment and recovery from a suspected concussion, especially the all-important decisions about when to return to school and everyday social and home activity, and, in most cases, to sports.
Parent involvement in their child’s recovery from a concussive event is, of course, not surprising, considering that:
- Active involvement of the parent is standard practice in pediatrics (especially, of course, for younger children);
- The student-athlete’s everyday environments at home and at school are important places to observe post-concussion symptoms; and
- Parents and teachers possess a wealth of information about the child’s behavior and ability to function in these settings that is directly relevant to an assessment of their post-concussion symptoms and when it is safe for them to return to the classroom (often with accommodations) and sports.
Parent concussion checklist
But what, exactly, is the parent’s role? Click on the below link for full details on your 10-point checklist.
1. Regularly and closely monitor athlete for first 24 to 48 hours.
2. Immediate hospitalization if condition deteriorates.
3. Use acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) or codeine for headache.
4. No drugs, alcohol.
5. No driving until symptoms have cleared.
6. Normal diet.
7. Physical and “cognitive” rest.
8. Graduated, individualized, conservative return-to-play.
9. Further testing/management.
10. Trust your instincts.