A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that happens when the brain is violently shaken inside the skull due to a bump or jolt to the head. In children, the consequences of a single concussion can be more serious than in adults. The brain is still developing at this age, which means that the injury can have a greater effect on how it develops over time. Understanding the risks involved with concussions is essential for raising your child to be as safe as possible. Here are some facts about concussions and their impact on childhood development.
Although there is a strong scientific consensus that even mild traumatic brain injuries can have long-term effects, less is known about how each type of concussion affects development and how serious those impacts can be.
There is no consensus in the medical community on how often children actually sustain concussions, which complicates the situation. However, the available studies suggest that there is a significant risk associated with many types of traumatic brain injuries. That risk, however, is relatively small. There’s also the possibility of delayed concussion symptoms, which can lead to a concussion going untreated. It is a good idea to be aware of concussion clinics in your local area before your child partakes in high-risk sports or activities like football. If you live in Utah and suspect your child has been concussed or suffered a head injury, you should seek out a concussion clinic in Utah to get an opinion.
While children can suffer concussions from a single blow to the head, those are usually the least severe and can be treated quickly. Some milder symptoms of a concussion can include:
The types of concussions are mild, moderate, and severe. Mild concussions occur rarely in children and usually go away on their own after a few days. Moderate concussions can often go away without treatment, but the symptoms may be even more severe in children with long-term problems. Severe concussions are usually accompanied by a stiff neck, especially in children under the age of 10. These kids may need to see a doctor for treatment.
Reactions to a concussion depend on the size and location of the hit, the number of times the head was hit, and how long it’s been since the concussion. The initial stages of recovery may be similar to a sports injury like a bruise, or even an infection. Damage to the brain may heal on its own, but it can take a longer time for symptoms to improve.
When the injury affects how the brain controls physical movement, it’s called “developmental,” and it’s usually not as severe. This may result in a child falling behind in school and have trouble with sports for months, as their brain continues to develop. Concussions may make a child act out in public and may make them anxious or moody. This may be a result of the brain’s stress response system kicking in to help the body deal with the injury.
If a concussion is not treated, or a child does not heal properly, a permanent effect may occur. Damage to the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning can lead to memory and learning problems, including changes in how a child remembers information from their everyday life. This may lead to difficulties with learning in school or in later life.
Many people with concussions have problems with their balance, coordination, vision, or memory. This may lead to long-term problems with driving or being on certain types of equipment. Long-term problems with movement may lead to limited activities like walking or running, due to problems with balance. Parents need to be aware of these long-term effects to help their children recover.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children who get a concussion should not return to sports or activities that may involve another significant head impact until the symptoms are gone. To help your child recover, make sure they rest for at least a few days. Get your child to follow a concussion protocol that is safe for them. That includes making sure they are not driving until their symptoms have disappeared, and that they get adequate medical care.
If your child has a concussion, it is best to let the school or your pediatrician know about it, to help the school and your child’s doctor stay on the same page. If your child gets a concussion, it is best to avoid any other injuries. But if they do, it is best to make sure you don’t take long breaks from activities. Help your child get back to school or play sports at a reasonable pace, and make sure they follow a concussion protocol that is safe for them.