Youth sports are in full swing—and so are sports-related injuries, such as concussions. Concussions are not just limited to contact sports like football—they can also occur in any other sports or activities where contact results in a blow to the head. Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur each year as a result from sports-related injuries. That’s why it’s important to know the signs.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is usually caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head. It can also result from a blow to the body. In some cases, what may appear to be a “minor” bump that doesn’t result in a loss of consciousness may cause a concussion, which is why many people don’t know they have one. Another complicating feature of concussions that makes them more difficult to immediately detect is that signs of some concussions don’t show up right away, they may take a few days or weeks to appear. Here are the symptoms to keep an eye out for if your child plays youth sports:
- Headache or pressure in the head
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems with balance/clumsiness
- Double/ Blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Memory/concentration problems
- Feeling sluggish, foggy or groggy
Loss of consciousness, mood or behavior changes or appearing dazed or clumsy after a hit on the field or other venue are also signs that can point to a concussion.
If you are worried your child has a concussion, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you don’t think emergency care is required, it’s better to take the extra precaution. Trained medical professionals will help determine the right course of treatment and let you know when it is okay for your child to return to normal activities and sports. Concussions take time to heal and if your child returns to normal activities too soon while the brain is still healing, it can put them at risk for further problems.
If you’re the parent of an active child, here are some other blogs to help you learn more about concussions and what to do:
- Your Child and Concussions
- Detroit Lions Heads Up Football Health and Safety Reminders
- Smart ER: Where and When to Go?
Dr. T. Jann Caison-Sorey is a pediatrician, adolescent medicine physician and senior medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Photo credit: Matthewreid