Children Need Rest After A Concussion, But How Much?

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

By Liza Gross

Every parent must balance the thrill of watching a child excel at a favorite sport with the fear that competition brings the risk of serious injury. That fear gripped my sister last year, when my nephew, then 10-years-old, played back-to-back soccer games against two rough teams.

Strict rest seemed to provide no additional benefit and even had some unintended consequences.

After a solid blow sent him tumbling to the ground in the first game, he took several hard hits in the second, including a nasty elbow to the back of the head as he tried to get up. Feeling dizzy, he raised his hand to leave the game, a first for him. He sat out the remainder of the game and felt lousy the rest the day.

Thankfully, my nephew quickly recovered without more serious symptoms. But each year over 173,000 children 19 and under suffer sports-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.

Treating a concussion calls for resting body and mind until acute symptoms such as headache, dizziness and concentration troubles fade, and then allowing a gradual return to normal activities. Some children must avoid all activity — including computer time and even reading. Continue reading

Emotional Symptoms Can Linger After Kids’ Concussions

Emotional symptoms such as frustration, and sleep difficulty can start more than a week after the initial injury and may be a sign of more serious concussion. (Paul-W/Flickr)

While headaches and fatigue are the most common concussion symptoms, nearly one in five patients may also suffer emotional symptoms. (Paul-W/Flickr)

By Brian Lau

That big hit your child took on the football field was over a week ago. He says his headaches are gone — but he’s just not himself. He can’t sleep and he just snapped back at you when you asked him how he was doing. You wonder if this is just normal teenager behavior or a sign of the concussion.

Frustration, irritability, and sleep difficulty a week or more after injury may signal a more serious concussion.
Concussions are diagnosed by physical symptoms like headaches, dizziness, difficulty thinking clearly, or fatigue after a head injury. But those physical symptoms may evolve into emotional symptoms during the days and weeks after an injury according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Yes, headaches and fatigue were the most common symptoms immediately following a concussion, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School. But emotional symptoms such as frustration, irritability, restlessness, and sleep difficulty were seen in up to 17 percent of patients a week or more after injury and may be a marker of a more serious concussion. Continue reading

How California Laws Raise Awareness of Concussion in Student Athletes

Among boys who play sports, football players have the highest rate of concussions. (Jane Meredith Adams/EdSource Today)

Football has the highest incidence of concussion among boy athletes. (Jane Meredith Adams/EdSource Today)

By Jane Adams, EdSource Today

As the high school football season winds to a close and players prepare to put their helmets away, athletic officials are hoping that a new law requiring coaches to be trained to spot concussions in players has made the high-contact game — and all youth sports — safer.

The California law, which went into effect in January, is one of a slew of laws and initiatives across the nation intended to address under-reporting and under-treating of youth concussions, a brain injury usually caused by a blow to the head.

For girls, soccer has the highest concussion rate.
The law mandates that high school coaches be trained to identify and respond to the symptoms of concussion, which include dizziness, nausea, headache and light-sensitivity. While many symptoms appear to resolve quickly, the injuries have been associated with complicated and even dire outcomes in youth.

In August, Tyler Lewellen, a 16-year-old defensive safety at Arlington High School in Riverside, collapsed after a tackle and later died following surgery to relieve swelling on the brain. The coroner has not yet released the official cause of death.

Junior Lamont Reed, 16, who plays fullback at Oakland Technical High School, recalled a helmet-to-helmet tackle in the first game of the 2012 season that left him so disoriented he asked a teammate, “Did I play yet?” Continue reading