Concussions have become more well known in recent years thanks to expanding research and awareness raised by professional athletes. It is important to try to prevent concussions whenever possible, but if your child suffers from one, Olivero Pediatrics is available to help you with diagnosis and management in order to help your child recover as quickly as possible.
The first step in concussion treatment is a preventative one: baseline testing. Baseline testing should be done prior to your child beginning his or her sports season. Baseline tests are meant to provide an individualized guideline to your child’s brain function so that in the case of an injury, we can determine its severity. A baseline test generally takes about 30-45 minutes to complete, and will assess your child’s balance, attention span, memory capacity, reaction time, and executive functioning of the brain, among other things. If your child is interested in participating in sports, Olivero Pediatrics can administer a baseline test for your child.
While preventative measures such as protective gear are an important part of making sure your child does not suffer a concussion in the first place, they are sometimes unavoidable. If your child is injured during sports or recreational activities, Olivero Pediatrics can help assess whether they have been concussed, and the severity of the concussion. Their initial baseline test is important because it provides us with information that will allow us to precisely diagnose your child in the event of an injury. A post-injury evaluation will be conducted using the same questions and methods as the baseline test. The difference in responses will help us determine the extent of the injury and inform decisions regarding your child’s ability to return to normal activities including school, play, and contact sports.
Concussions cannot be instantly cured. They must instead be allowed to run their course as your child’s brain heals. It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits all protocol for managing concussion symptoms. Each case is unique and will be treated as such. Rest is the most important aspect of concussion recovery. This includes both physical rest and cognitive rest, which may require your child to stay home from school, or to receive a reduced workload from teachers as he or she recovers. It is important to listen to your pediatrician’s recommendations, as allowing your child to return to activities too soon can exacerbate and/or prolong their concussion symptoms. Medication to ease symptoms may seem like a good idea, but it is important not to utilize them too much. Masking symptoms can impede your pediatrician’s ability to properly asses your child’s actual recovery, making it more dangerous if they were to be reintroduced to certain activities.
First and foremost, we want every parent to know the warning signs and dangers of concussions. If your child sustains an injury and shows signs such as dizziness or loss of balance, nausea, confusion or irritability, headache, temporary loss of consciousness, excessive crying, listlessness, or delayed responses to questions, please call Olivero Pediatrics as soon as possible. It is important to have your child assessed and treated quickly following a concussion in order to maximize their ability to recover.