As another school year ends and everyone is excited for the summer, we at Old Pueblo wanted to give you some thoughts to go with all your summer activities, and most importantly, for this fall when the sport practices and games begin again.
There has been a lot of talk in the medical community about concussions and their severity and according to the American Academy of Neurology, there are new guidelines that help highlight concussions and its effect on the developing pediatric brain.
A concussion is defined as an alteration of brain function, typically affecting memory and orientation. It is considered a functional disturbance, not a structural injury. One of the most important new guidelines is that if a concussion is suspected, sit the player out immediately. Athletes who are recovering from a concussion will have a slower reaction time and slower cognition processing time, which leaves them more vulnerable to another unexpected hit. Another important new guideline is that the timing of return to play completely depends on the individual, the symptoms, and how quickly those symptoms resolve. Returning to play is based on a stepwise approach that includes a normal clinical neurological examination, the patient’s self-report of no symptoms, a return to normal school and work performance, and an ability to perform through a full normal day. This should all be evaluated by a trained healthcare professional.
Concussion signs and symptoms include headache, sensitivity to light and sound, changes in reaction time, balance, and coordination, and also changes in memory, judgment, speech, and sleep. These symptoms are often reported by the athlete and they might complain about “pressure in their head”, “double or blurry vision”, “feelings of sluggish, hazy, foggy, or grogginess”, or they may just report “not feeling right.” Any mild bump or blow to the head can be serious, you do not need to ‘blackout’ in order to have a concussion. Boys are at higher risk for a concussion when playing rugby, football, hockey, and soccer; whereas girls are at the highest risk with soccer and basketball. It was also mentioned that bicycling and skateboarding have a concussion risk, so helmets are essential and it is important to make sure they fit. Remember, you cannot see a concussion and some children may not experience and/or report symptoms until hours or days after the injury. Most people with a concussion will recover quickly and fully. Concussions usually resolve within 7-10 days. But always seek medical attention with a trained healthcare provider. The CDC offers great resources of free information for parents, coaches, and athletes so they too can help recognize, prevent, and respond to a concussion.
Thank you and remember….”If in doubt, sit them out!!!”