Parents are told that sport is essential for kids – it helps them exercise, it helps reduce childhood obesity, it encourages teamwork skills and raises self-esteem. But we also need to be aware that playing a sport can result in head injuries. So should you be concerned about sport causing concussion in children?
Signs of Concussion in Children
Before I started writing this article, I have to put my hands up, if you had asked me what the signs of concussion are, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. So here are some of the signs and symptoms of a concussion:
- Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
- Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
- Dizziness or “seeing stars”
- Ringing in the ears
Doctors now recommend these steps after a suspected concussion:
- The player should immediately stop playing or practicing.
- The player should get checked out by a doctor before returning to practice or play.
- Children who get concussions usually recover within a week or two without lasting health problems by following certain precautions and taking a break from sports and other activities that make symptoms worse.
What Parents Can Do
- Make sure you know those signs of concussion in children (above) and take a minute to visit www.concussionaware.ie, there’s lots of info and videos on the website.
- If your child plays a sport, keep an eye on potential concussion symptoms after games. If in doubt take your child to the doctor to get them checked.
- If you’re a spectator at your child’s games, then watch to make sure that the coaches or teachers sit them out after a bang to the head.
- Make your child take a break from sport and other strenuous activity for a few days if they have had a suspected concussion.
- Ask your school and club what they are doing to protect kids from concussion dangers. Do they have clear concussion protocols in place? Is everyone involved being educated on the risks of an injury? Tell them about posters that can be downloaded on the ConcussionAware website.
- If you feel that your child’s club isn’t taking this seriously enough, then consider switching clubs. While it might be awkward in the short term, a long-lasting brain injury is worse.
- Consider buying a set of the elite performance Concussion Aware Laces for your child’s shoes to help raise funds for Headway, Brain Injury Services & Support. Headway acts as lifeline to people in Ireland who acquire a brain injury after strokes, concussions or other traumatic brain injuries.
Over to you now. Have you had experience of your child getting concussion? Tell us in the comments below.