By Dr. Timothy J. Flynn
A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury. It is caused by the brain being jostled inside the skull. It often happens after a blow to the head but anything that makes the head move suddenly and forcefully can cause a concussion. Let’s review some common myths and facts about concussions.
Myth: Concussions only happen after a direct blow to the head.
Fact: A child can get a concussion from any forceful, sudden movement of the head.
Myth: A concussion is any head injury that you pass out from.
Fact: Luckily, most children who have a concussion don’t lose consciousness (pass out). Symptoms of a concussion can include confusion, grogginess, headaches, and dizziness. If your child has these or any other new concerning complaints or problems after a head injury, it might be due to a concussion.
Myth: Concussions only happen in contact sports.
Fact: Anything that causes the brain to bounce around inside the skull can cause a concussion. Concussions can happen in both contact and non-contact sports. They can also happen in playground accidents, automobile crashes, and household accidents.
Myth: Certain headgear and helmets can prevent a concussion.
Fact: Helmets and headgear are important safety equipment, but no football helmet or other sports headgear have been shown to be “concussion-proof” at this time.
Myth: If my child has a concussion, she or he will need a brain scan.
Fact: Most children with a concussion do not need a brain scan as part of their evaluation. If there is concern that your child has had a particularly severe injury or is not recovering as expected, a brain scan might be needed.
Myth: A concussion is a season-ending sports injury.
Fact: Each concussion is different. Any child who has had a concussion should be examined by a medical professional to discuss the safest time and way to resume being physically active.
Myth: After a concussion, a child should avoid school, athletics, and work until the symptoms are completely gone.
Fact: A gradual and mild return to activity is an important part of the recovery from a head injury. Many children do not need to miss any school; although, sometimes special accommodations must be made. Some athletes can resume non-strenuous portions of athletic practices within a few days of their concussion. Talk to your child’s doctor for a customized plan to return to school, athletics, and other activities.
At Fox Chase Pediatrics we are available to evaluate your child after any possible concussion. We can provide you with clear guidance on the safest time and way for your child to return to their normal activities. Please call to make an appointment if we can be of assistance.