Concussions are extremely common when your child plays contact sports like hockey or football. As a sports parent, it’s critical to protect your child’s brain health if they experience a concussion or any other head trauma. If a concussion goes untreated, it can cause concentration, memory, and balance issues that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
Concussions significantly affect brain function. According to the CDC, concussions can cause long-term problems that affect your child’s thinking, memory, learning, coordination and balance, speech, hearing, vision, and emotions.
Repeated concussions can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Traumatic Brain Injuries result in tiny changes to the brain that are undetectable on CT scans. The symptoms can range from subtle changes in mental acuity to extreme circumstances like a coma or death. Traumatic brain injuries are also associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Even if your child doesn’t require emergency care, it’s essential to see a doctor within a few days of experiencing a head injury. The main treatments for concussions include rest, pain medication, and taking a break from sports and other strenuous activities.
Your child needs to rest during the first few days after a concussion. In those first few days, you should limit physically and mentally strenuous activities as much as possible to prevent your child’s symptoms from worsening. Minimizing the use of electronics, such as TV, cell phones, and computers, gives the brain time to heal properly.
When your child has a concussion, they can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) if pain medication is needed. Taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen is not recommended because they are blood thinners, which may increase the risk of bleeding.
As your child’s symptoms begin to lesson, they can slowly return to non-strenuous activities. If they are an athlete, they should not return to play if they are still experiencing concussion symptoms and wait until cleared by a doctor to continue their contact sport.
Please note: These are usual treatments for concussions. We always advise that you speak to a medical professional about the best treatment for any injury, especially a head injury.
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