Studies show rates of concussion climbing for student athletes. Repeated head injuries can lead to serious long-term consequences. That’s why it’s important to prevent head injuries, and seek prompt evaluation and treatment if they occur.
Prevention and Attention
At home, mandate helmet use during riding activities like skateboarding or contact sports, including football.
At school, make sure coaches and teachers know if your student athlete has had a concussion before.
Above all, tell your young athlete to speak up if they suffer any head injury, no matter how minor it may seem.
A Winding Road to Recovery
Each athlete’s concussion will be different. Your student athlete may seem dazed, confused, or clumsy. They may not remember how they got hurt. Other symptoms include headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and changes in mood.
Symptoms may appear immediately, or may not appear for days or even weeks.
Recovery may progress at different rates depending on the symptoms. Most often, concussion symptoms will subside within a few weeks, but it could take 3 months or longer.
If concussion symptoms linger for months, your young athlete may have post-concussive syndrome. This condition is more common in individuals who have had repeated head injuries. Adolescents with post-concussive syndrome should not return to their sport until symptoms have subsided.
Repeat Concussions Increase Risk
If a student athlete has experienced a concussion, they are at higher risk of having another. Over time, repeated concussions can lead to more serious injuries, including difficulty with memory and concentration, headaches, and even permanent brain damage. A second impact to the head too soon after the first can even be fatal.
Recovery usually takes longer for those who have had multiple concussions.
Smart Treatment Strategies
If your student athlete has a concussion, closely watch the recovery. Seek immediate medical care for worsening symptoms — including headaches, vomiting, or irritability.
Students can return to school when symptoms begin to subside, often within a few days. But before your athlete can get back in the game, he or she will need medical clearance from a doctor experienced in treating concussions.
For information on concussion care for youth athletes or to schedule an appointment with an AHN specialist, click here.