Friday, November 20, 2009

Concussions Hard To Spot, Need Serious Attention


If your child falls and takes a blow to the head in sports or on the playground, would you know the symptoms of a concussion?

Often the injuries are not limited to sports and the signs can be hard to spot, 10TV's Tracy Townsend reported.

Blake Norris found out firsthand that football hits are hard and fast.

The boy, 12, received a concussion after a hit in football practice, but he and his family did not realize it until two weeks later.

"When I got hit I went down to the ground, my right side of my head went down on the ground real hard," Norris said.

Despite taking a hard hit and getting sick, Norris continued to practice with Lancaster's Ewing Junior High football team.

The first hit had caused a concussion and he mild brain injury was compounded as Norris continued to practice-- and re-injure himself, Townsend reported.

The neurologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital called it second injury syndrome - when a child can reinjure themselves by trying to be a brave football player.

Studies show children often try to play through the pain and concussions are often called silent injuries - because the symptoms go unrecognized.

Symptoms of concussion can range from headaches, dizziness and nausea to vomiting and difficulty concentrating in school.

Those with undiagnosed concussions are at risk for disability or brain damage.

More than 400,000 children are treated each year in emergency departments with hard knocks they have taken during contact sports, or from falling from a bike or playground equipment.

"We think that they're very prevalent one of the problems is they're under reported because kids don't recognize the symptoms," said Dr. Richard Rodenberg, with Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Treatment starts by allowing the bruised brain to rest. It often means sitting a child out sports activities and in some cases, school work.

In the concussion clinic at Nationwide Children's Hospital, the experts can measure progress using neurocognitive tests of concentration, memory and reaction skills.

"If we can see them early enough, hopefully get them out of their activity, allow them to recover. Hopefully it makes a faster recovery and ability to get them back to their sport," Dr. Rodenburg said.

Charlotte Myers plays soccer and at just 16 has already had three concussions.

"My freshman year when I had my worst one that affected my school work-- I couldn't read, I couldn't focus my eyes enough to go to the next line in reading," Myers said.

Myers is back in the game after being sidelined from contact sports for eight months. She wears a concussion headband to soften any blows she might take to the head.

"The main thing I would say is don't take your concussion lightly that's what I did if you take a hit have a headache or feel dizzy definitely take a week off," Myers said.

"I just wish that was what happened. Unfortunately it's not and that is why I'm just advocating, when in doubt, sit them out," said Blake's mom Nancy Stewart.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association said it works with team coaches to recognize signs of concussion.

It relies on school doctors, physicians and coaches to prevent students from competing before they are medically cleared.

1 comment:

jamesanderson said...

A crucial reminder for parents and young athletes. Concussions can be deceptive, with symptoms often going unnoticed. It's vital to take head injuries seriously and prioritize safety over sports.
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