Be aware of the symptoms of concussions for your child’s safety

Susie Hyden - Contributing Columnist

With school back in session where kids are playing together at recess and with the beginning of sport seasons like football and soccer, it is important for parents to be aware of the symptoms of concussions.

A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Even what seems to be a mild bump to the head can be serious to a developing brain and should be addressed correctly.

You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after an injury or may not appear or be noticed until hours or days after the injury. It is important to watch for changes in how your child or teen is acting or feeling, if symptoms are getting worse, or if she/he just “doesn’t feel right.” Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.

If your child reports or you notice one or more of the following symptoms seek medical attention right away. Be alert for symptoms that worsen over time.

• One pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other

• A headache or “pressure” in the head that gets worse and does not go away

• Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination

• Repeated vomiting or nausea

• Slurred speech

• Appears dazed or stunned

• Is confused about events

• Answers questions slowly

• Repeats questions

• Can’t recall events prior to the hit, bump, or fall

• Can’t recall events after the hit, bump, or fall

• Loses consciousness (even briefly)

• Shows behavior or personality changes

• Forgets class schedule or assignments

• Difficulty thinking clearly

• Difficulty concentrating or remembering

• Feeling more slowed down

• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy

• Balance problems or dizziness

• Fatigue or feeling tired

• Blurry or double vision

• Sensitivity to light or noise

• Numbness or tingling

• Does not “feel right”

Children and teens with a concussion should never return to sports or recreation activities on the same day the injury occurred. They should delay returning to their activities until a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. This means, until permitted, not returning to: Physical Education (PE) class, sports practices or games, or physical activity at recess.

Susie Hyden is the registrar/environmental health clerk at the Madison County-London City Health District. She may be reached at 740-852-3065.

Susie Hyden

Contributing Columnist