Sport Concussions: What Parents Need to Know


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 sport concussions go unreported or undetected and not having proper treatment for sport concussions 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,” continued Maguire.

Most people with sport concussions will have symptoms immediately after a blow or bump to the head. But like Maguire, “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.

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

What parents and coaches should look out for instead is whether they are off balance when they get up, do they look confused, are they 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 Dr. Pieroth.

Maguire agrees.

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



REPORT #2959

BACKGROUND: A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. It can also be caused from a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This rapid movement causes brain tissue to change shape, which can stretch and damage brain cells. Chemical and metabolic changes within the brain cells can also be caused by the damage, making it more difficult for cells to function and communicate. Since the brain is the body’s control center, the effects of a concussion can be far-reaching. Concussions are usually not life-threatening, but the effects of a concussion can change a life and the injury should be treated seriously.


CONCUSSION SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: A concussion doesn’t show up on imaging like an X-ray, CT, or MRI scan and there is no objective test, like drawing blood or saliva, that can determine if a patient has a concussion. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of a concussion are extremely important to recognize and diagnose. A doctor makes a diagnosis based on the results of a comprehensive examination, which includes observing signs of concussion and patients reporting symptoms of concussion appearing after an impact to the head or body. Concussion signs and symptoms are the brain’s way of showing it is injured and not functioning normally. Some common signs and symptoms include loss of consciousness; problems with balance; glazed look in the eyes; delayed response to questions; forgetting an instruction, confusion about an assignment or position, or confusion of the game, score, or opponent; or vomiting. Concussion symptoms fall into four major categories: physical symptoms such as headache or dizziness; cognitive symptoms like memory problems or difficulty multitasking; sleep symptoms such as sleeping more than usual or having trouble falling asleep; and emotional symptoms such as anxiety or depression.


A BREAKTHROUGH DEVICE: A non-invasive hypothermic therapy device intended to decrease the severity of concussion symptoms and help patients get back to their pre-injury baseline, is the first-ever FDA-approved medical device treatment for concussions. Hypothermic therapy is a non-invasive treatment for concussion, in which the head or body is cooled below normal body temperature. Researchers have observed, in using this device, significant improvements in clinical outcomes through the cooling of the brain within eight days of the concussion. This device is in the final stage of completing a large multi-site clinical trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the therapy. While the initial aim of the treatment device is to help the unfulfilled medical needs of athletes, the company hopes to expand to other populations that may help people who suffer concussions caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls, or military service.


* For More Information, Contact:

Ann Pitcher

Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: