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Category: Safety Information

Ask the Expert: Concussion Awareness and What Parents Should Know

Concussions are a prevalent concern in sports and recreational activities, especially among student athletes. As a parent, it's crucial to be informed about concussions, their symptoms, and how to respond if your child sustains one. Beau Brown, CaroMont Health Athletic Trainer for Ashbrook High School shares what parents need to know about concussions to ensure the safety and well-being of their student athlete. 

Understanding Concussions 

Brown explains, “A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when a blow or jolt to the head causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth within the skull. This movement can result in chemical changes in the brain and sometimes damage to brain cells. Contrary to popular belief, concussions don't always involve loss of consciousness. In fact, most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness.” 

Brown recommends that parents familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of a concussion, especially after their child has experienced a sports-related injury involving their head. 

“Prompt diagnosis and appropriate management of concussion symptoms is critical,” says Brown. “It’s important to understand that symptoms may not appear immediately after injury and can worsen over time. So any blow to the head should be taken seriously and your student athlete should be monitored closely.” 

Signs and Symptoms include:
Headache or pressure in the head
Nausea or vomiting
Dizziness or balance problems
Blurred or double vision
Sensitivity to light or noise
Confusion or feeling dazed
Difficulty concentrating or remembering
Irritability or changes in mood
Sleep disturbances 

Seeking Medical Attention 

If you suspect that your child has sustained a concussion, it's crucial to seek medical attention promptly. While most concussions are mild and resolve on their own with rest and proper management, it's essential to rule out more severe brain injuries. Their primary care physician can assess the severity of the concussion and determine next steps, including guidance on when it's safe for your child to return to activities. Gradually, as symptoms improve, they can resume normal activities, but should only do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional. 

Concussion Prevention 

While it's impossible to prevent all concussions, Brown recommends the following steps parents can take to reduce the risk: 

  • Ensure your child wears appropriate safety equipment during sports and recreational activities, including helmets for activities such as biking, skating, and contact sports. 
  • Teach your child proper techniques for their chosen activities to minimize the risk of head injuries. 

  • Encourage open communication with coaches and instructors about safety protocols and concussion awareness. 

  • Educate your child about the importance of reporting any head injuries or symptoms of concussion promptly. 

  • Partner with your student athlete’s athletic trainer for personalized guidance for your specific child’s needs. 

Concussions are a serious concern for parents, but with knowledge and awareness, you can help protect your child from these injuries. By understanding the symptoms, seeking prompt medical attention when necessary, and promoting a culture of safety, parents can play a vital role in keeping their children safe and healthy during sports and recreational activities. Remember, when it comes to concussions, it's always better to err on the side of caution.

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