Protecting your brain
Winter is almost here, which means winter sports and snow-related activities are soon to begin. Now is a good time to remind children and teens about the risk of head injuries (concussions) and how serious they can be.
“You’d be surprised how many kids who play winter sports are at risk of concussion. It’s not just football,” said Opher Nadler, MD, medical director of Randall Children’s Hospital’s emergency department. “Prevention is key in avoiding concussions. We encourage parents to have their kids wear helmets, when appropriate, or help them recognize signs and symptoms.”
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around in the skull, potentially damaging the brain cells.
Signs to watch for with a concussion:
• Difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating or remembering
• Feeling slow
• Headache, blurry vision
• Nausea, vomiting
• Dizziness or balance problems
• Sensitivity to noise or light
• Irritable, sad or emotional
• Sleeping more or less than usual; trouble falling asleep
“Talk to your kids about concussions and the importance of expressing concerns to an adult,” said Nadler. “Often, kids, especially teenagers, tend to play an injury down, not realizing that they might have a concussion. If untreated, a concussion could cause more severe long-term problems.”
If you think your child or teen has a concussion, make sure they are seen by a healthcare professional. If your child meets any of the below symptoms, take them to your closest emergency department immediately, as they could be signs of a more serious surgical emergency.
You should be taken to the ER right away if you:
• A headache that gets worse and does not go away
• Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
• Repeated vomiting
• Slurred speech
• Look very drowsy or cannot be awakened
• One pupil is larger than the other
• Convulsions or seizures
• Cannot recognize people or places
• Agitated, confused, or restless
• Unusual behavior
• Loss of consciousness (knocked out)
Click here for information on the Randall Children's Emergency Department.
Click here for information on our Sports Medicine and Concussion Services.
For media inquiries, contact Ashley Stanford Cone.