The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently published a new study that found approximately one-third of all children and teenagers who experience prolonged concussion symptoms go on to suffer mental health side effects as well.
This is something to take note of around here as kids return to playing fall sports, like football and soccer, which are typically associated with a higher risk for traumatic brain injury.
While there is always the physical component to worry about in healing the brain after such a serious injury, experts now say the mental consequences could be just as serious.
It is often too easy for kids to become frustrated, withdrawn, and even angry during this slow time it takes to recover.
“Having children pulled out of activities or school, which is common post-injury, also worsens their mental health by further isolating them,” says Dr. Labiner.
She says the biggest thing to be on the lookout for in the two weeks following a concussion are personality changes that seem out of character for your child. “As a rule, you should watch for unfamiliar behaviors as a priority.”
Are they isolating themselves from family members? Do they refuse to eat? Is he or she lashing out at you or a sibling?
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ bring it up with your physician right away.
The study also revealed that some kids are at a higher risk for mental health effects following a concussion than others, including those with:
- pre-existing mental health issues
- other extensive injuries beyond the concussion, requiring even more time on the sidelines before returning to school and sports
Pediatric neurologists urge parents to seek help immediately if you suspect a mental health issue is developing in your child after an injury.
The key to helping them weather a challenging time like this is early treatment and intervention.
In addition to keeping close tabs on their mental attitude, Dr. Labiner recommends parents keep close tabs on their physician’s guidelines for rest and recovery as well. The better the chance the brain has to physically heal, the quicker your child or teenager can get back to their regular routine and all that they enjoy doing.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin has experience treating a wide range of neurological conditions in children and teenagers from 0 to 21 years old and offers expedited concussion treatment and services specifically for these types of sports-related injuries.
To make an appointment with one of our board-certified pediatric neurologists, please contact us here.