Best Life: Heads up! What parents need to know about sport concussions

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 8:35 AM CDT
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CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- About 283,000 kids go to emergency rooms every year for sports or recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. A concussion is a mild type of TBI. But experts say half of concussions go unreported or undetected and not having proper treatment for a concussion can lead to persistent symptoms such as concentration and memory problems.

Throw, kick, pitch, catch! Sports are a good way to keep kids moving. But a blow or bump to the head can be a cause for concern. It certainly was one for high school soccer player Charles Maguire.

“I went in to head it and just kind of a guy got on the other side and hit me and yeah, I could feel it right away,” Maguire told Ivanhoe.

But after a quick assessment by the athletic trainer, “I went back into the game, which is probably not a good idea,” said Maguire.

Most people with concussions will have symptoms immediately after a blow or bump to the head.

“We can see a delay in symptoms. It’s actually quite common in athletes. Their adrenaline is going. They are in the zone and then after the game, their adrenaline starts to decline and they will start to feel symptoms,” explained Elizabeth Pieroth, PsyD, ABPP, MPH, Director of the Concussion Program at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.

One of the biggest misconceptions about concussions is that someone will always lose consciousness.

“Only about nine to ten percent of concussions result in a loss of consciousness,” said Pieroth.

What parents and coaches should look out for instead is whether they are off-balance when they get up, do they look confused, or are slow to respond. They should also be concerned if the teen says they have a headache, feel dizzy or nauseous, have a sensitivity to light and sound, or they feel foggy. Also if there’s any doubt, sit them out.

“We want to teach kids to play smart,” said Pieroth.

Maguire agrees.

“You only have one brain. You can’t mess it up,” said Maguire.

Experts also recommend teens take it easy and rest for the first couple of days and then start to slowly ease back into physical and cognitive activities. Resting too long may actually take longer for those patients to recover and get back to normal activities.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer

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