A recent study suggests that the number of concussion injuries may be much higher than reported…possibly 1.5 million more. With the sports season approaching soon, Dr. Michael Reardon, concussion specialist at Child Neurology Consultants of Austin, spoke to KVUE-TV about what parents should know about concussion injuries. See the interview on KVUE.com.
Here are 4 commonly asked questions about concussions.
Why are concussions under-reported?
There are four main reasons this occurs:
- Many concussions are not obvious. In other words, the person is not “knocked out” (unconscious) and doesn’t become severely disoriented.
- Athletes, coaches, parents may not know all the symptoms or signs to look for, so they may not rec ognize it.
- Athletes may not report their symptoms because they do not want to get removed from playing.
- Research studies may only record concussion cases that come into a hospital emergency department. Since most concussion cases are managed by primary care doctors or concussion clinics, statistics related to concussions are often underestimated.
What sports have the highest rates of concussions?
In descending order:
- Tackle football
- Girls soccer
- Girls basketball
- Boys soccer, basketball and lacrosse
How serious is a concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, it needs to be taken seriously every time. For instance, if a second concussion happens before an initial concussion resolves, it could cause severe brain swelling that can result in death. This is called “Second Impact Syndrome”.
Otherwise, how “serious” a concussion is totally depends on the person and particular injury…
- On one hand, some people fully recover within days and have no further problems. Some people may never have another concussion again; some people may have several concussions in their lifetime, recover completely from each one, and never have any neurological problems.
- On the other hand, some people suffer from symptoms and cognitive slowing for weeks, months, or longer, which can sometimes derail an entire year of school. Some people become more susceptible to concussions-they happen more easily and with worse outcomes. Some people develop progressive brain impairment as a result of repeated concussions. These patterns are the “red flags” that should make us very cautious about allowing return to contact sports
What should you do if you think your child has had a concussion?
First, immediately remove your child from playing in any sports/rough play and have them rest, and get evaluated by a health care provider who has experience with concussion management. Initially, this could be an Athletic Trainer, a nurse, a primary care physician, team doctor, etc.
If a person is unconscious, unresponsive, disoriented, repeatedly vomiting, complaining of neck pain, or has any limitation of movement, call 911.
Do not allow your child to return his or her sport until all of the concussion symptoms have resolved AND the child has been evaluated and cleared by a qualified healthcare provider.
Do you have questions about your child’s concussion injury? Make an appointment at Child Neurology Consultant’s concussion clinic or with a concussion specialist.