04 Oct How Parents Can Pinpoint Post-Concussion Syndrome
How Parents Can Pinpoint Post-Concussion Syndrome
As a leading health problem in the United States, concussions are to be taken seriously, especially during sports seasons. With an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sport-related concussions in the nation each year, it is necessary for parents to become increasingly aware of their children’s cerebral health during this active time.
Age and Recovery
On average, the majority of patients with sports-related concussions recover within a 7- to 10-day period. For children and adolescents, however, it takes a bit longer to recover, as children are still in their developmental stages of life.
Generally, post-concussion symptoms in children will subside within a month, but recovery time also depends on factors such as sex, age, and medical/injury history. Existing learning difficulties, family stressors, and other mental influencers could also prolong the recovery process.
When concussion symptoms continue after the incident for a prolonged period of time, it is called Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS). For both adults and children, PCS takes place when 3 or more of the following symptoms are present: headache, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, concentration difficulty, or memory difficulty.
Within these categories, certain signs can be recognizable by parents, while other signs are reported by the child experiencing them.
What to Look for Post-Concussion
Regular and close monitoring for first 24 to 48 hours is crucial for parents to ascertain the extent of PCS. When a child is experiencing the above symptoms, parents who pay close attention can see them exhibited in certain behaviors:
- Appearing dazed
- Losing consciousness
- Repeating themselves
- Confusion about events
- Cannot recall things from before the hit/incident
- Cannot recall events post-incident
- Changes in personality
- Slurred speech
- Forgettable about tasks, assignments, or schedule
Also, parents can enquire deeper into what they see. How the child is feeling and what they’re saying is important to pinpoint PCS symptoms. The child may express difficulty in concentrating; feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy; frequent or long lasting headaches or “pressure” in the head; nausea or vomiting; trouble thinking or recalling things; issues balancing; fatigue; vision issues, such as sensitivity to light or double vision; numbness; emotional distress; restless sleeping, too much sleeping, or not enough sleeping.
Helping Them Recover
Parents can help their children in the recovery process by making sure they get enough rest, while still making sure to wake them up every 3 to 4 hours to check their mental status. High-risk activities should also be avoided, and be sure to give them only doctor prescribed or approved medication. Also, keeping open communication with those in the child’s life really helps in keeping recovery consistent. Be open with other parents, siblings, teachers, and coaches, who will be able to help on the daily path to recovery. Lastly, speak with a healthcare professional before allowing the child to return to regular activities, including school in general.
Ultimately, it’s vital to be calm, alert, and proactive in watching for the signs, taking the right steps, and speaking to the right professional for proper healing.
Children’s National Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine – Safe Concussion Outcome Recovery