Fall Saturdays are full of youth and college football. This is the season to pull out the bleacher seats and fall sweaters and root for your favorite team on the gridiron. Whether you are cheering on your little one or your favorite college team, you may have noticed heightened concussion awareness and a strict protocol to protect athletes from head injuries.  So what can you do to protect your child in the event of a head injury?

First and foremost, it is important to understand that most concussions occur without loss of consciousness. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters normal brain function. A concussion causes a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms, which may not be recognized if subtle. If your child reports any of the symptoms discussed below, seek medical attention immediately. Concussions can have a more serious impact on a growing and developing brain.

As a parent you are looking for a dazed and confused child. They may answer questions slowly, have memory loss, personality changes, and/or unusual difficulty with schoolwork.
They may report the following symptoms:
•    Feeling tired and sluggish
•    Difficulty thinking and concentrating
•    Headache
•    Nausea and/or vomiting
•    Balance problems or poor coordination
•    Visual changes
•    Numbness/tingling
•    Sensitivity to light and noise
•    Irritability
•    Depressive symptoms

The 4 “R”s are critical in the case or a brain injury.
•    Recognize: be aware of the signs and symptoms
•    Remove: remove the child from play (never return the same day)
•    Recovery: visit with the doctor regarding return to play
•    Return to Activity: this should be slow and progressive until symptoms free
The greatest danger of concussion is a second-impact (another head injury) while the brain is healing.

So, what should you do in the event of a concussion?
•    Schedule an evaluation with your child’s doctor.
•    The brain needs time to heal so exercising or activities that involve concentrating impede the recovery time.
•    School and physical activity will need to be restricted until symptoms resolve. This includes studying, computer work, and video games. Physical and cognitive recovery should be monitor by a health care provider.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 1.26.11 PMDr. Rebecca Butler is Board Certified in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  She is proud to be a resident of Lantana and the owner of Lantana Pediatrics.  For more information on Dr. Butler or to schedule an appointment, call 940-455-7200.

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