Kids Should Strap On Safety Helmets When Playing Sports
Snow is falling and friends are calling. ... Whether your child participates in organized winter team sports or recreation activities with friends and family, there is always a danger of concussion. Concussions account for about 46 percent of U.S. winter sport injuries.
"Knowing the warning signs of a concussion and when to seek medical attention are critical," says Holly Gilmer, M.D., chief, pediatric neurosurgery, Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.
Concussion dangers and risks can be found in indoor and outdoor activities including:
Common head injury
One of the most common injuries evaluated and treated in children is cerebral concussion. As hockey (or basketball, wrestling, skiing or cheerleading) moms and dads, the risks and implications of concussions in children are concerning.
What is a concussion?
Explains Dr. Gilmer, "A concussion is the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of the brain function after a mild head injury. Traditionally, a concussion was defined as a loss of consciousness following a head injury, with normal X-rays and head CT scans. More recent data suggest that concussion may or may not involve loss of consciousness. It may be caused by a direct blow to the head, or by a direct injury to another area of the body with secondary forces transmitted to the head, such as a 'whiplash' type of injury."
Other than loss of consciousness, typical symptoms and signs include:
* loss of balance
* slurred speech
* double vision
Symptoms may be quite subtle, such as a feeling of "having one's bell rung," feeling a little funny, or briefly "seeing stars" or "bright lights." A child who suffers a complex concussion or multiple concussions experiences prolonged symptoms and/or mental impairment (weeks to months).
Once a child is suspected of having a concussion, he should be immediately removed from the activity (game or practice) and evaluated by a team trainer or physician. Evaluation should include the neck, as upper spine injuries are highly associated with head injuries and may separately contribute to headaches.