Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. Did you know that TBIs contribute to about 30% of all injury deaths? Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions. Concussions can be caused by a sports related collision, a car crash, and even a minor fall.
Do you know what to do if your child is showing signs of a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when a blunt force causes the brain to temporarily dysfunction. It is not a “bruise” to the brain, rather a trauma. The first step is knowing what the signs and symptoms are so that a concussion can easily be identified.
Signs (objective, measurable effects)
- Grabbing Head
- “Unsteady” on Feet
- Unequal Pupils
- Personality Changes
- Memory Loss
Symptoms (subjective, reported effects)
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
- Vision Disturbance
- Memory Loss
- Feeling “Foggy”
- Poor Concentration
- Sleep Disturbances
It is important to remember that this is not an all-inclusive list. If your child is showing symptoms of a concussion, don’t panic. The brain can recover, but you need to give it a break while it’s healing.
The 7-10 days following a concussion is crucial for your brain to heal naturally.
See your doctor before you get back to your normal routine, even if you’re feeling fine. And go straight to a doctor if your symptoms (such as headaches, confusion, memory problems, or vomiting) get worse.
No texting, TV, computer, or video games.
Your brain works hard keeping track of everything happening on the screen. Your brain needs a break from working so it can heal properly.
Slow down at school.
Miss a day or more of school until you feel well enough to return. Come in late for a while if you’re too tired in the morning, or go home early if your symptoms are getting worse in the afternoon.
Give yourself extra time.
Take extra time to turn in homework. Postpone tests until you feel better. Leave classes early if you feel your symptoms are getting worse.
Find peace and quiet.
Find a spot somewhere in the classroom or when you are at home where sights and sounds won’t interrupt you as much. Give yourself sometime between classes to sit down and give your brain a break.
Explain the situation.
Make everyone as aware as possible. A note from your doctor should help at school when asking for special treatment. Parents, teachers, coaches, or the school’s athletic trainer should all be made aware so they can monitor your symptoms, and help make sure you are taking the breaks your brain needs.
After 7-10 days its time to start getting back to normal! Not so fast though.
After your doctor gives you the okay to get back to normal life, take it easy. Don’t go all out, all at once.
Ease into it.
Slowly get back to all the activities you have been skipping—start by doing a few minutes at a time and working up from there. Back off, or take more breaks if you get a headache or start to feel symptoms again.
No more concussions!
You definitely don’t want another concussion. Having more than one may mess with your memory or concentration, or lead to other long-term brain complications.
Follow up with a doctor.
If you feel like symptoms return, or you experience any abnormalities, you should see an athletic trainer or doctor immediately for further observation.
Consult with a concussion mitigation specialist.
With brain injury, it is critically important to understand how the injury impacted brain function overall. Concussion mitigation specialists will measure brain function with a qEEG brain map, so that they can see the areas of the brain that have been negatively impacted by the injury. A Brain Map will help identify why you or your child may be experiencing specific symptoms related to the traumatic brain injury or concussion.