Here we are! It is fall sports and football season once more. As we head into the season, our young athletes and the thought of concussions are a bigger concern than ever before, as we now are more aware than ever that the dangers of traumatic brain injuries are real. Although primarily occurring in football players, they are not the only athletes who are suffering concussions. Young soccer players, hockey, (both field and ice) and basketball players, lacrosse players, and wrestlers suffer their fair share as well.
3 years ago the guidelines on sports related concussions and head trauma became more stringent, brought on when news-making lawsuits filed by a few prominent football players families, most notably but not solely, the death of Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge, who suffered from multiple concussions and then tragically took his own life. More recently, the suicide of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez is making headlines once more when an autopsy revealed that he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) What was unveiled during these lawsuits was the severity, and more notably the longevity of brain disease that concussions, due to the effects of traumatic brain injury throughout their years in the game, has affected thousands of people.
Since then, Connecticut and many other states, passed laws requiring coaches,trainers, phys-ed teachers and anyone working with student or professional athletes to under-go training on concussion symptoms and what to look for, how to treat, and how to educate their athletes on the dangers of concussions and head injuries caused by severe blows to the heads.
Young Athletes and Concussions; What You should Know
If your child has experienced a bad blow to his/her head, the next 24-49 hours are crucial.
What the doctor or provider should be checking for during a concussion exam:
Our urgent care providers will take a history of the accident and assess the following:
- Where (on the skull) the injury occurred
- If there been a loss of consciousness, even for a few seconds
- If the patient has been nauseas or vomited prior to seeing the doctor
- Whether the athlete experienced either retrograde or anterograde amnesia
If necessary, a neurological exam may accompany the concussion screening, during which the provider will check for loss of coordination, watch for difficulty in answering simple factual questions, and watch for signs of confusion, fatigue or lethargy in the patient.
What parents should watch for :
- excessive sleep
- increased lethargy
- slurred speech
If any of these symptoms are occurring, it is very important that you bring your child in for a comprehensive concussion exam. You don’t want to mess around with this one, as we now know that concussions can cause lasting damage.
Parents should continue to observe their athlete for any of the above signs. Any symptoms such as increased confusion, slurred speech, excessive sleep or ongoing lethargy are signs that your athlete may have suffered a concussion.
Watch this AFC Urgent Care Medical Minute on concussion and traumatic brain injuries prevention.
Don’t panic: at the end of the day, the great majority of head blows do not result in concussions, and if after an exam the results are normal, the typical protocol is simply to have the child take a few days off before slowly re-integrating back into their sport.
Should you, your child, or a loved one receive a head a blow and are unsure of whether this is a concussion or not, please ere on the side of caution, see your doctor, or come in to any one of our 3 Danbury urgent care centers, at either 2 Main Street, 100 Mill Plain Road or our newest location, 76 Newtown Road in Danbury and have one of our providers conduct an exam.
We are open 7 days per week, no appointment needed. You can always save time, and sign in online