Don’t ignore concussions

6 Mar

Kids Health has some great information about concussions at their site:

What Is a Concussion and What Causes It?

The brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned by spinal fluid. It is encased in the hard, protective skull. When a person gets a head injury, the brain can move around inside the skull and even bang against it. This can lead to bruising of the brain, tearing of blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. When this happens, a person can get a concussion — a temporary loss of normal brain function.

Most people with concussions recover just fine with appropriate treatment. But it’s important to take proper steps if you suspect a concussion because it can be serious.

Concussions and other brain injuries are fairly common. About every 21 seconds, someone in the United States has a serious brain injury. One of the most common reasons people get concussions is through a sports injury. High-contact sports such as football, boxing, and hockey pose a higher risk of head injury, even with the use of protective headgear.

People can also get concussions from falls, car accidents, bike and blading mishaps, and physical violence, such as fighting. Guys are more likely to get concussions than girls. However, in certain sports, like soccer, girls have a higher potential for concussion.

Dr. Rivara has published a study of how serious concussions can be.

Lindsey Tanner of AP reports on a new study about concussions in the article, Even mild concussions can cause lingering symptoms:

Children with even relatively mild concussions can have persistent attention and memory problems a year after their injuries, according to a study that helps identify which kids may be most at risk for lingering symptoms.

In most kids with these injuries, symptoms resolve within a few months but the study results suggest that problems may linger for up to about 20 percent, said study author Keith Owen Yeates, a neuropsychologist at Ohio State University’s Center for Biobehaviorial Health.

Problems like forgetfulness were more likely to linger than fatigue, dizziness and other physical complaints, the study found.

Forgetfulness, difficulty paying attention, headaches and fatigue were more common in study children who lost consciousness or who had other mild head trauma that caused brain abnormalities on imaging tests, compared with kids who didn’t get knocked out or who had normal imaging test results.

The study looked at symptoms up to a year after injury so it doesn’t answer whether any kids had longer-lasting or permanent problems.

“What parents want to know is if my kid is going to do OK. Most do OK, but we have to get better at predicting which kids are going to have problems,” Yeates said.

Those who do may need temporary accommodations, including extra time taking school tests, or wearing sunglasses if bright light gives them headaches, he said.

Most children studied had concussions from playing sports or from falls. About 20 percent had less common mild brain trauma from traffic accidents and other causes.

Concussions involve a blow to the head that jostles the brain against the skull, although imaging scans typically show no abnormalities. Other mild brain trauma can cause tissue damage visible on these scans.

The study included 186 children aged 8 to 15 with mild concussions and other mild brain injuries treated at two hospitals, in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. The reports are based on parents’ reports of symptoms up to 12 months after the injuries.

The brain injuries studied were considered mild because they involved no more than half an hour of unconsciousness; 60 percent of kids with concussions or other brain trauma — 74 children — had no loss of consciousness.

Overall, 20 percent — 15 children — who lost consciousness had lingering forgetfulness or other non-physical problems a year after their injury; while 20 percent who had abnormal brain scans — six kids — had lingering headaches or other physical problems three months after being injured.



Time to Start Paying Attention

Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Published online March 5, 2012. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.1602

Coaches and parents must be alert to signs of concussion.

WebMD has a good description of what a concussion is and the signs of concussion

A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a sudden blow to the head or to the body. The blow shakes the brain inside the skull, which temporarily prevents the brain from working normally….

Symptoms of a concussion include:

·         Passing out.

·         Not being able to remember what happened after the injury.

·         Acting confused, asking the same question over and over, slurring words, or not being able to concentrate.

·         Feeling lightheaded, seeing “stars,” having blurry vision, or experiencing ringing in the ears.

·         Not being able to stand or walk; or having coordination and balance problems.

·         Feeling nauseous or throwing up.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a small child has a concussion. If your child has had a head injury, call your doctor for advice on what to do.

Occasionally a person who has a more serious concussion develops new symptoms over time and feels worse than he or she did before the injury. This is called post-concussive syndrome. If you have symptoms of post-concussive syndrome, call your doctor. Symptoms of post-concussive syndrome include:

·         Changes in your ability to think, concentrate, or remember.

·         Headaches or blurry vision.

·         Changes in your sleep patterns, such as not being able to sleep or sleeping all the time.

·         Changes in your personality such as becoming angry or anxious for no clear reason.

·         Lack of interest in your usual activities.

·         Changes in your sex drive.

·         Dizziness, lightheadedness, or unsteadiness that makes standing or walking difficult.

Parents must be alert to what is happening with the children when they participate in athletic events and activities.




Concussion – Overview

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

5 Responses to “Don’t ignore concussions”


  1. Update: Don’t ignore concussions « drwilda - May 20, 2012

    […] Coaches and parents must be alert to signs of concussion.  WebMD has a good description of what a concussion is and the signs of concussion […]

  2. Study: Effects of a concussion linger for months « drwilda - December 13, 2012

    […] […]

  3. NCAA beginning to take concussions seriously | drwilda - July 22, 2013

    […] Citation: Concussion Time to Start Paying Attention Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Published online March 5, 2012. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.1602 Coaches and parents must be alert to signs of concussion. […]

  4. Canadian study: Teens who have suffered a concussion at higher risk for bullying and suicide | drwilda - April 16, 2014

    […] […]

  5. Northwestern University School of Medicine study: Concussions and female middle school students | drwilda - August 2, 2014

    […] […]

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