This article was re-printed with permission from Help ... We've Got Kids! The Case On his walk home from school, Tyler, an 8 year old boy, slips on ice and hits the back of his head on the sidewalk. He does not lose consciousness and immediately sits up rubbing his head. He completes his walk home and mentions the fall to his mother who inspects his head and does not find any bleeding but feels a small area of swelling. A couple hours later after dinner he tells his parents he is feeling a bit dizzy but he is otherwise well. Is this a concussion? What should his parents do? Concussion Concussion has received an extensive amount of media coverage as of late. On one hand it is positive that such an important issue is being discussed but, on the other hand, more discussion tends to propagate more myths. Here we try to answer common questions parents bring to our clinic regarding concussion. What is a Concussion? A concussion is a brain injury caused by trauma anywhere to the body that results in a change in brain function. The functional disturbance can manifest physically, cognitively (thinking/memory), emotionally or as problems with sleep. The internationally agreed upon definition is quite extensive and can be found here. Symptoms & Signs of Concussion The symptoms and signs of a concussion can be quite variable. A child may present with a range of the symptoms and signs listed below.
Pediatrics. 2010 Sep; 126(3): 597-615
What do I do if I think my Child Suffered a Concussion?
- Immediate cessation of sport and activity
- Do not leave the child alone
- Any child with a head injury should be assessed by a physician.
- If symptoms and signs are mild and not progressing then assessment by the child's family doctor or pediatrician is appropriate
- If symptoms and signs are concerning and/or worsening then assessment at the nearest emergency department is necessary
- If there is loss of consciousness then an ambulance should be called and the child should be taken to the hospital immediately
- Use your judgment as a parent
- A common rule we like to share with parents - "if you are thinking about it, then you should do it"
- If you are concerned and asking yourself if you should take your child to a doctor to be assessed then listen to your instincts and go
- Thinkfirst: www.thinkfirst.ca
- SCAT2 Assessment Form: www.cces.ca/en/files-116
- Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/concussion/DS00320
- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/
- American Academy of Neurology: http://www.aan.com/go/practice/concussion
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