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Your Health: What parents need to know about concussions

If there’s any doubt, sit them out.
Your Health: What parents need to know about concussions
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - An estimated 283,000 children in the United States go to emergency rooms every year for sports or recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs.

A concussion is a mild type of TBI, but experts believe half of sport concussions go unreported or undetected. Not having proper treatment for sport concussions can lead to persistent symptoms such as concentration and memory problems.

While sports are a good way to keep children active, a blow or bump to the head can be a cause for concern. It certainly was for high school soccer player Charles Maguire.

“I went in to head it and just kind of a guy got on the other side and hit me,” Maguire recalled. “Yeah, I could feel it right away.”

After a quick assessment by an athletic trainer, he went back into the game.

Most people with sport concussions will have symptoms immediately after a blow or bump to the head, but Maguire did not.

“We can see a delay in symptoms. It’s actually quite common in athletes,” said Dr. Elizabeth Pieroth. “Their adrenaline is going. They are in the zone and then after the game, their adrenaline starts to decline and they will start to feel symptoms.”

One of the biggest misconceptions about concussions is that someone will always lose consciousness, but Pieroth said only 9-10% of concussions result in a loss of consciousness.

What parents and coaches should look out for instead is whether they are off balance when they get up, do they look confused, are they slow to respond? They should also be concerned if the teen said they have a headache, feel dizzy or nauseous, have a sensitivity to light and sound or they feel foggy.

If there’s any doubt, sit them out.

“You only have one brain. You can’t mess it up,” Maguire said.

Experts also recommend teens take it easy and rest for the first couple of days and then start to slowly ease back into physical and cognitive activities. Resting too long may actually take longer for those patients to recover and get back to normal activities.

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