How to Head Off Concussions
What you need to know before they hit the field or playground.
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Concussions are a hot topic these days, and with good reason: According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are responsible for 3,000 deaths and 400,000 ER visits in kids ages 14 and younger every year. Concussions are caused by a blow to the head or hit to the body that causes the brain to bounce inside the skull. Kids risk getting injured while playing sports like football, soccer, lacrosse, basketball and baseball. Falling at the playground or off a bike can also lead to a concussion.
Concussion symptoms include headache, dizziness and vomiting. Other signs may take hours or days to show up. These symptoms range from irritability and moodiness to a change in sleeping patterns. Your child may also say she doesn’t “feel right.”
If you suspect your child may have a concussion, see a doctor right away. If she’s diagnosed, she’ll need time to rest and heal before gradually returning to her usual activities. That means stopping sports, cutting back on schoolwork and limiting anything that requires concentration, such as reading, playing video games or working on a computer.
Keep your child safe on the playing field with these tips from the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
• Work with your child’s coach to promote a culture of safety including protective gear, and enforce both fair play and a concussion action plan.
• Teach your child to report any injuries to you and the coach, even if he thinks he can deal. When in doubt, sit him out!
• Have your child evaluated by a health care provider before returning to practice, play or school.