Football has started and unfortunately, that means concussion “season” is under way, as well.
Concussions also occur during soccer games, fall lacrosse, and many other contact sports.
More and more data is being published about concussions in children and adolescents, and most of the studies show that concussions are serious brain injuries and therefore needed to be treated appropriately.
A new study out of Boston Children’s Hospital indicated that children and teens take longer to recover from a concussion if they’ve had one before. For the study, a concussion was defined to include any altered mental status within four hours of injury, and headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and or balance problems, fatigue, drowsiness, blurred vision, memory difficulty or trouble concentrating.
The most common symptoms noted were headache, fatigue and dizziness. Of note, 20 percent of the kids in the study had neuroimaging, and all such tests were negative.
While five to seven years ago it was thought that kids recovered from a concussion within a week, we now know that recovery time for preteens and teens takes longer. Other risk factors for a prolonged recovery were being 13 years of age or older, not losing consciousness, and having a higher post-concussion symptom questionnaire score (RPSQ).
So, what does this all mean? It means both doctors and parents need to be very conservative in making sure that any athlete who’s sustained a concussion has both physical and cognitive rest. In the study, only 92 percent of subjects who’d sustained a concussion were told to refrain from athletics. That number needs to be 100 percent.
There will be more and more studies on the way looking at whether there’s a gap between when kids “feel better” and when they’re truly physiologically recovered.
Once again, this study verifies that a second concussion is even more serious than the first.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether your child might have sustained what used to be called a “mild concussion,” be conservative and keep them out of play. That’s never the wrong call.
Dr. Sue Hubbard is a pediatrician and co-host of “The Kid’s Doctor” radio show.