A few years ago, the guidelines on sports-related concussions and head trauma became more stringent, brought on when news-making lawsuits were filed by a few prominent football players’ families, most notably but not solely, following the death of Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge, who suffered from multiple concussions and then tragically took his own life. What was unveiled during these lawsuits was how the severity, and more notably the longevity, of the brain disease that concussions, due to the effects of traumatic brain injury throughout years in the game, has affected thousands of people.
After the dust settled, Connecticut and many other states passed laws requiring coaches, trainers, physical-education teachers and anyone working with student or professional athletes to undergo training on concussion symptoms, teaching them what to look for, how to treat and how to educate athletes on the dangers of concussions and head injuries caused by severe blows to the head.
And now, it is football season once more. As we head into the season, how to know if your child has a concussion is important, as the dangers of extensive head trauma are real. And it is not just football players who are suffering concussions, but soccer, hockey (both field and ice) and basketball players, too. Even cheerleaders are not immune.
How to know if your child has a concussion:
If your child has experienced a bad blow to the head, the next 24-48 hours are crucial.
Parents need to watch for:
- excessive sleep
- increased lethargy
- slurred speech
It is very important that you bring your child in for a comprehensive concussion exam if any of these symptoms are occurring, and sooner rather than later.
What the doctor should check for during a concussion exam:
Providers will take a history of the accident and ascertain the following:
- where (on the skull) the injury occurred
- if there was a loss of consciousness, even for a few seconds
- if the patient has been nauseous or has vomited prior to seeing the doctor
- whether the athlete experienced either retrograde or anterograde amnesia
If deemed necessary, a neurological exam may accompany the concussion screening, during which the provider will check for loss of coordination, watch for difficulty in answering simple factual questions and watch for signs of confusion, fatigue or lethargy in the patient.
Over the next few days, parents should continue to observe the athlete for any of the above signs. Symptoms such as increased confusion, slurred speech, excessive sleep or ongoing lethargy are signs that an athlete may have suffered a concussion.
At the end of the day, the great majority of head blows do not result in concussions. And if after an exam the results are normal, the typical protocol is simply to have the child take a few days off before slowly reintegrating back into their sport.
Should you, your child or a loved one receive a blow to the head and are unsure whether this is a concussion or not, please err on the side of caution. See your doctor or come in to either one of our Danbury urgent care centers, at 2 Main Street or 100 Mill Plain Road in Danbury, to have one of our providers conduct an exam. We are open seven days per week; no appointment is necessary. You can always save time and sign in online.
For more information, please contact AFC Urgent Care in Danbury at (203) 826-2140 or (203) 826-2600, or visit www.AFCUrgentCareDanbury.com.