Kids and Concussions: How Many is Too Many?


SEATTLE, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — CTE is a huge issue for professional football players, but should we be concerned at a much younger age? There are nearly four million concussions every year in this country. Here’s more details on how to recognize if your child has suffered from a concussion and the best ways to help them heal.

Name the sport and Angelo Neumann loves it. But the nine-year-old can’t afford to get hit in the head again.

He’s already had four concussions; an injury that shakes the brain around inside the skull.

Angelo told Ivanhoe, “We were playing baseball.  The ball hit my head and it hurt really bad.”

Mark Neumann, Angelo’s father, said, “It really affected his home life.  Just the simple things like watching TV or video games gave him headaches. At school, we had to be extra cautious at recess and PE.”

John Forrest Bennet, MN, ARNP, cares for Angelo at the concussion clinic at Seattle children’s hospital. If you suspect a child has a concussion he said have them stop what they are doing and get evaluated.

“You want to understand do they have headaches. Also are those headaches activity related, do they have nausea with vomiting or dizziness fatigue or imbalance. Think general neurological symptoms that just aren’t right,” Bennet explained.

One of the most critical parts to healing a concussion is to make sure you don’t hit your head again until you’re fully healed. In rare cases, it can cause permanent disability or death.

Bennet told Ivanhoe, “The more common concern if you take a second hit when you’re not fully recovered from a concussion is that it can delay recovery by days, weeks, or months.”

New research shows rest is the best way to heal a concussion, but not too much. That can actually delay recovery. Talk with your child’s doctor about a recovery plan.

If your child is not healing properly, your doctor can order a brain MRI and/or a neuro psych exam, which can show which part of the brain is not working. Angelo’s parents say it can be especially helpful in qualifying for additional Special Ed services at school.

Contributors to this news report include: Nicole Sanchez, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Scott Hopson, Videographer


REPORT #2418

BACKGROUND: Concussions are traumatic brain injuries usually caused by a blow to the head. They are common in people who play contact sports, such as football, but can also be caused by car accidents and violent shaking to the head or upper body. A violent blow to your head and neck or upper body can cause your brain to slide back and forth forcefully against the inner walls of your skull. These injuries affect brain function, usually for a brief period. Symptoms can last days to weeks, and include headaches, confusion, amnesia, dizziness, ringing in the ears, nausea, or fatigue. Head trauma is very common in children but may be more difficult to recognize if the child can not accurately explain how they feel. Symptoms in children include change in eating or sleeping patterns, loss of balance and unsteady walking, irritability and crankiness, and crying excessively.


THE STUDY: Even if your child does not exhibit symptoms right away after hurting their head, you should still seek medical attention for anything more than a slight bump. For children and adults, if they have serious symptoms such as repeated vomiting, loss of consciousness, or slurred speech, emergency care should be sought right away.  Student athletes are certainly at more risk of suffering a concussion because of the potential of being hit by balls or other players. If a child gets a concussion, they should abstain from sports or other physical activity until they are fully recovered. Before returning to activity, they should be evaluated by a professional healthcare provider. Repeated head injuries can result in long term effects, and if another head injury occurs while the child is still healing from a concussion, it could make the recovery very long and painful. Some parents are concerned about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative disease that affects the brain, but there is no evidence that suffering concussions during sports radically predisposes a child to developing CTE. This typically only occurs in professional NFL players who sustained multiple hits to the head and did not take time to recover.


NEW REGULATIONS: The fear of your child getting a concussion does not mean you should pull them from sports. There are ways to take preventative measures to be safe. Always wear the appropriate equipment for your sport and wear it properly. Always close a chin strap if your sport requires a helmet; many concussions occur during practice. Make sure that end posts are padded sufficiently, and learn and use proper technique for your sport. Some sports organizations have taken additional action to minimize the risk of concussion by limiting the number of contact practices allowed during the season.


* For More Information, Contact:

General Rehab Clinic: 206-987-2114

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