Just in time for football and soccer season – the two sports most likely to give a child or teenager a concussion – the CDC issued the first-ever guidelines on treating concussions in kids.
“We specialize in diagnosing and treating concussions in kids and adolescents, so the guidelines are new to us. But, this information is very important for other providers and parents with active children,” explained Dr. Kate Labiner, pediatric neurologist with Child Neurology Consultants of Austin. “What I appreciate most is that the guidelines reinforced not over doing testing, pursuing further testing when needed, and stress that kids should gradually return to school or play.”
Concussions, or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), result from a sharp, or repeated, blow to the head and can lead to memory loss, dementia, and other serious long-term health issues.
Reports of concussions have skyrocketed in recent years as highly competitive youth sports have become more and more popular. The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that more than 800,000 kids and teenagers are treated for concussions each year.
The complete list of new guidelines which were just published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics can be found here. Five of the key recommendations include:
• Limit routine and repeated imaging in pediatric patients to diagnose a concussion.
• Base pediatric concussions on age-appropriate symptoms, not those used for an adult.
• Determine risk factors for long-term recovery based on past history of concussions, severity of symptoms, and other individual and family medical issues.
• Prescribe patients and their parents highly personalized instructions for treatment and recovery, including when to return to normal and then physical activity.
• Educate parents on the importance of encouraging their child to gradually resume non-sports activities after no more than two to three days of rest.
While the pediatric medical community acknowledges that what the CDC has issued is a solid start, there is still much more to learn and teach people about the significance of proper treatment and healing of the young brain.
Parents, coaches, and caregivers are all reminded to be vigilant about noticing concussion symptoms, and seeking medical attention immediately, after a hard hit or fall.
For questions or concerns about your child or teen and concussions, please contact Child Neurology Consultants of Austin for an appointment with one of our specialists.