Dec 18, 2016 • 5 min read
Part 2 of 3 – This post is by Paige Decker from the The Invisible Injury. In November of 2013, while playing for Yale’s Women’s Ice Hockey Team, she suffered a head injury that then only seemed minor. What she couldn’t have predicted then was that the next 22 months (and counting) would consist of a battle with a concussion so severe in its symptoms that it would go on to change her life forever.
As a parent, it’s your job to protect your kids and keep them safe, so what are you supposed to do when you see signs of a concussion?
In this blog post, we will discuss what you as a parent can do from the sidelines.
As a first step, it is important that you learn the ins and outs of what a concussion is, so you can be ready to act when you see signs of a concussion. Once you have a handle on these concepts, we recommend that you sit down and discuss them with your children.
A concussion is a blow to the head that produces countless physical and cognitive symptoms.
Concussion symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fogginess, blurred vision, as well as light and noise sensitivity.
After you suffer a concussion, you are 6 times more likely to suffer another.
85% of concussions are resolved within 7-10 days. However, the more concussions that an individual has suffered previously, the longer the recovery can take.
Concussion expert Dr. Jeffery Kutcher points out that if a patient has not recovered from a concussion within two months, then they aren’t receiving the necessary care and treatment.
Here are a couple of ongoing complications to be on the lookout for:
Because young children’s brains are so vulnerable, it is especially important for adults to take immediate action whenever they see any signs of a concussion. Children’s brains are very susceptible to additional damage while recovering, so it is crucial that athletes be removed from contact play if there is any chance of a head injury.
Also, be aware – in some cases, an individual may not realize they are suffering from a concussion because the symptoms don’t always show up right away. Very often, athletes will also hide their symptoms to avoid being taken out of the game.
This is when it’s most important for adults to step in and be proactive. If a young player takes a bad hit, adults must take action. It is better to be overly cautious, rather than being too lenient and potentially overlooking a serious injury. Athletes will take advantage of leniency. Step in and get the player evaluated by a licensed medical professional.
In our first post, we went over how rest is absolutely crucial for recovery. Once your child is fully rested, we encourage you to start with some simple exercises to prevent future injuries.
Brain injuries don’t always occur from direct hits to the head. In several cases, whiplash alone can cause a severe concussion. That means proper neck strength is critical to preventing concussions.
Concussions can occur when the brain gets jostled and slams against the inside of the skull, which can result from an unexpected impact to the body. Any type of damage to the neck and base of the skull will also perpetuate concussion symptoms well after the brain injury itself has healed.
A weak neck makes an individual more susceptible to sustaining symptoms for a prolonged period of time. A strong neck helps support the head and absorbs the effects of an outside force to the body and brain.
With this simple neck strengthening exercise shown below, athletes can begin to combat and prevent concussions. This simple exercise can be incorporated at the end of practices during a cool down stretch.
There will be times when you’re not sure what to do and you think your child is showing signs of a concussion. Always, always, always seek the opinion of a medical professional before making assumptions. You can’t put a price on your child’s brain!