Imagine you are at a high school football game watching your son play when you see that hit. The one that you know doesn’t look right. His head was down and he drove right into someone, or the one that he went helmet to helmet with an opponent, or even the one where his head bounced off the ground. The next thing you know, the school’s athletic trainer calls you down from the stands to tell you that your son has suffered a concussion.
The topic of concussions is on the rise. Concussions don’t just happen to football players, they can occur in any sport. Knowing some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for and what to do for them is essential to the health of your son or daughter.
Some of the classic signs and symptoms of concussions are complaints of headache, dizziness, blurred vision, feeling like you are in a “fog”, ringing in the ears, nausea, slurred speech, etc. If your son or daughter has any of these symptoms, even for a short period of time, he/she might have sustained a concussion.
So what do you do next? Do you have to rush them to the ER? Do you monitor them? Do you have to wake them up every few hours? Unfortunately, there are many differences in the severity of symptoms. No matter what, it is always recommended to follow up with a physician. New laws at the high school level require that a physician clear the child that has sustained a concussion before safely returning to play. What about the other questions? As a parent you should continuously monitor your son or daughter to make sure none of their symptoms increase. If that occurs, take them to the ER to get further evaluated. You do not have to wake them up every hour, but be aware that your child will want to sleep because outside stimuli are very sensitive to him/her at this time. Certain symptoms can last for multiple days, and it is also not uncommon that there may be more/new symptoms that present themselves in the days following a concussion.
Every child is different and, as a result, there is no timeline that can determine when they return to activity. Resting during this time is the best for the athlete. When all of the symptoms subside and they are cleared by a physician, the athlete should start a slow return to play protocol with their athletic trainer. In some instances, concussion symptoms last a longer period of time and your son or daughter may need to follow up with a vestibular therapist. Athletico offers highly qualified and trained vestibular therapists that can help your son or daughter manage and treat their symptoms until they resolve.
Overall, when an athlete sustains a concussion, it is a team approach to help the athlete return to play. The team consists of the parents, athlete, athletic trainer, physician, and sometimes a physical therapist. By working together and communicating, the team can make sure that the athlete’s best interest for a healthy future is at the forefront.