As parents, we do everything possible to protect our children from harm. However, certain injuries may go unnoticed or underestimated, one of which is a concussion. Often considered a minor head injury, a concussion can have serious implications, particularly in the development and well-being of children.
Here at Northeast Pediatric Associates PA, we’re a team dedicated to children's health, so we understand how important it is to recognize the gravity of concussions and the potential dangers they can pose to young individuals.
A concussion occurs when the brain experiences a sudden impact or rapid movement within the skull. Though it’s commonly associated with sports-related injuries, concussions can happen during various activities, falls, accidents, or even in everyday rough play among children.
One of the most concerning aspects of concussions is the difficulty in diagnosing them. Unlike visible injuries where signs are evident, symptoms of a concussion might not surface immediately. Your child may not express their discomfort, or the signs might be subtle, making it challenging for you to recognize the seriousness of the situation.
That’s why it’s important to bring your child into our practice for a concussion screening if you suspect a head injury for any reason.
Symptoms to watch for
Some typical symptoms of a concussion in children include:
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns
In some cases, your child might experience a temporary loss of consciousness.
These symptoms can vary and may not appear immediately after the injury.
The dangers of a concussion
The real danger lies in the potential long-term effects of a concussion, especially if the injury isn't managed properly. Studies have shown that repeated concussions, especially in a developing brain, can lead to severe consequences. These include:
- Cognitive issues
- Memory problems
- Mood disturbances like anxiety and depression
- Post-concussion syndrome, where symptoms persist for weeks or months
For children, the effects of a concussion can be particularly detrimental as their brains are still developing. A concussion might interfere with this critical phase, potentially impacting their learning abilities, social interactions, and overall growth.
Steps to take
If you suspect your child has a concussion, they need immediate medical attention. As pediatricians, we’re equipped to evaluate and manage such injuries. It's essential not to downplay or overlook any head injury, no matter how minor it may seem.
Rest, both physical and cognitive, is often the primary treatment for concussions. Your child might need to take a break from school, screen time, and physical activities to allow their brain to heal.
How to prevent a concussion
Prevention also plays a pivotal role. Be sure to educate your child about the risks and importance of safety measures during play and sports activities.
Our goal at Northeast Pediatrics is to educate children, parents, coaches, and teachers about ways to prevent these injuries. Some of those proactive steps include encouraging the use of proper safety gear, enforcing rules during play, and raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of a concussion among others.
Although a concussion may initially appear benign, its potential long-term impact on a child's health and development can’t be underestimated. Vigilance, prompt recognition, and appropriate management are a must for safeguarding your child from the dangers associated with concussions.
To learn more about concussions or to schedule a screening for your child, book an appointment online today or call our team at the office nearest you in San Antonio, North Central San Antonio, Schertz, or Castroville, Texas. We also offer telehealth.