Concussion in Children: When To Worry

Concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injury that children can receive as a result of falling off a bike while not wearing a helmet, bumping heads while playing sports or by other means of physical contact.

Concussions occur when a blow to the head or body causes the head to move back and forth with a lot of force.  This sudden change of direction may cause the brain to collide with the inside of the skull, and result in a minor injury to the brain.  These types of injuries to the brain can change the way nerves communicate and lead to concussion symptoms.

Symptoms of a concussion vary in severity and can include headaches, dizziness, problems with memory or concentration, nausea or blurry vision. Some symptoms may begin immediately, while others may appear days after the injury. Symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to up to four weeks; therefore, parents should keep a watchful eye.

If your child displays mild symptoms such as a headache or neck pain, you should consult a physician.  Your doctor may request a full neurological exam. If the concussion is determined to be mild, cognitive and physical rest for the first 24 hours and a gradual return to routine activities are usually recommended.

After 24 hours, your child may be able to complete simple tasks such as doing homework.  However, if symptoms develop while performing these tasks, allow them to stop and rest then try again in a few hours. Sports should be avoided until symptoms have completely resolved and your child has been reevaluated by their doctor. Screen time should also be avoided because activities such as playing video games or watching TV can make symptoms worse.

Mild concussions typically heal in a few days to a few weeks but if symptoms worsen or persist for more than four weeks,  your child needs to be taken to the emergency room for further evaluation to rule out more serious causes for their symptoms.

Please keep in mind that children should be taken to the ER immediately if they are displaying symptoms such as headaches that will not go away, seizures, loss of consciousness, persistent vomiting, excessive crying or slurred speech.  These symptoms are severe and require urgent medical care.

To avoid concussions, children should always wear seat belts in the car and helmets while riding bikes. Children who participate in sports should be encouraged to follow safe sports techniques.

To speak with a Family Medicine doctor about concussions, please call (718) 206-6942.

Dr. Navdeep Kaur; Family Medicine Physician

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

September is National Traumatic Brain Injury Month

September is recognized as National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. The main purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries and how to recognize, prevent, and treat it one if it occurs.

The most common type of head injury is called a concussion, which is known as a mild traumatic brain injury. These can happen to anyone, at any age that has experienced a blow to the head. Signs and symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of consciousness

In most cases, people will recover from a concussion in a week to ten days, with adults usually recovering faster than children. While many times traumatic brain injuries can’t be prevented because they are due to an accident, there are a few things a person can do to protect themselves:

  • Anyone who participates in a sport that has physical contact should wear proper head gear
  • When riding in a car everyone should wear a seat belt
  • Helmets should always be worn when riding a bicycle
  • People who are prone to falling should walk with the assistance of a cane, a walker or have someone with them for assistance.

If you or someone you know experiences a head trauma, it is advised that they to be seen immediately by a physician or be taken to the nearest emergency room.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Jamaica Hospital Offers Information to Parents About Sports-Related Concussions

This fall, millions of children and teens across America will be returning to school and many of them will be trying out and playing for their school’s various sports teams.

While the health benefits, exercise and comradery associated with youth sports is undeniable, parents must also educate themselves and their children about the potential dangers of sports-related concussions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a concussion is “a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.”

Largely associated with football, concussions are actually prevalent in many major sports including soccer, gymnastics, hockey and lacrosse and they can occur while participating in any physical activity.

To minimize the chances of sustaining a concussion, it is important for coaches and parents to create a culture of safety in youth athletics. This includes teaching proper safety techniques on the field of play and making sure that children follow those rules.  Another key to reduce the chances of a child or teen suffering complications from a concussion is to educate them on their signs and symptoms. If children are aware of not only the symptoms, but the dangers of not reporting a concussion, they are more likely to inform a coach or parent when they experience one.

Symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

It is important to understand that not all concussions are created equal. Those who suffer one many experience some, but not all symptoms and the severity of those symptoms may vary from person to person.

If you believe that your child has suffered a concussion, you should remove them from play immediately and have them seen by their healthcare provider who can assess the severity of his or her injury via an examination and conduct additional tests if necessary. Typically, treatment for a concussion involves rest and restricting the patient from activity.

If your child does not have a healthcare provider, or they are unavailable when they sustain a concussion, you should take your child to a nearby hospital emergency department, such as the one at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Concussion: A brain-bang

Concussion: A topic that is receiving a great deal of attention recently, but what is it? A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that rattles the brain inside the skull. When the body is jolted, causing a whiplash reaction of the neck and head, this can cause the brain to become disoriented within the skull.  A concussion can be caused by a number of things such as: sports-related injuries, fights, falls, mobile accidents, and playground injuries.

Motor vehicle precautions can be exercised by children and adults by wearing a seatbelt at all times and keeping your child in a car or booster seat based on age, height and weight requirements. Safety measures to be practiced at home include the installation of window guards to ensure your child does not fall out of an open window and safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.

Children and adults should practice helmet safety when riding bicycles, motorcycles, hover-boards, scooters, or all-terrain vehicles. If you are playing a contact sport it is encouraged that you wear a helmet as well. For those contact sports that do not require protective head gear, like soccer, it is important to be vigilant and know the symptoms.

Here are some clues to identify if you have a concussion:

  • Headache
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to bright lights or loud sounds
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns, either insomnia or sleeping more often than usual

A lot of people may experience headaches and dizziness for a day then recover fully, but about five percent of people sustain injuries causing life threatening bleeding if not properly diagnosed. The Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is open 24/7 to diagnose and treat concussions. So, how do you know if you should seek medical attention or wait and see? The best answer to this is, when in doubt, check it out!

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.