Concussion, or in simple terms temporary loss of brain function, can result from head injury which is generally not accompanied with loss of consciousness. This is a mild traumatic brain injury. We hear about concussion in athletes and players caused due to injury to head while playing or cycling or due to fall. In case of kids, those suffering from concussion generally recover within one to two weeks without consequential or associated health problems by taking certain precautions. In case the child remains undiagnosed or untreated for concussion, he may end up suffering from brain damage and disability for life.
In case the parents notice that their child is suffering from concussion they should immediately stop him from participating in sports and watch for symptoms keenly. Some of the initial symptoms of concussion are:
- Change in level of alertness and the child tends to feel extremely sleepy.
- Child complaints of headache for most of the time and that too bad.
- Child remains confused and vomits very often.
In case any or more than one symptoms are noticed by parents, they should immediately take the child to emergency room in a hospital.
Human brain is made up of soft tissues and is encased in a hard skull of head. The area between the brain and skull is filled with spinal fluid. The brain moves inside the space available and in case of extreme jerks bangs against the skull. In case of an impulsive bang, the blood vessels and tissues could get damaged resulting in concussion. The time taken for the patient to fully recover depends upon severity of injury.
The basic symptoms may or may not include black out or loss of consciousness. Other symptoms which need to be watched in addition to those mentioned above could be:
- Difficulty to sleep, associated with nausea and vomiting.
- The child feels extremely confused and dazed and unable to perform the tasks he could easily perform earlier, and is unable to take decisions.
- The child feels it difficult to coordinate activities or balance himself like difficulty in catching a moving ball.
- Difficulty to remember things he did before injury.
- Slurred speech, blurred vision and extreme anxiety with the child becoming irritable.
These symptoms could develop within 24 to 72 hours of injury. If any of these symptoms are noticed a visit to the doctor should be arranged immediately. It will be advisable to take the child to hospital immediately on your noticing head injury even without symptoms of concussion.
Diagnosis and Treatment
When the child has reached the clinic of an expert doctor, the doctor will generally first question the parents about the possible injury to the head and then talk to the patient asking him or her about himself or herself. He will also test the functioning and coordination of the nervous system. To rule out internal bleeding or serious injury, he will ask for CT scan or MRI of brain. Once sure of the cause, the treatment will start.
In not so serious cases the doctor will not hospitalise the child and after giving instructions to the parents send him home. If the child does not wake up when asked to or becomes more confused and vomits, he needs to be taken back to hospital.
The basic treatment involves providing both physical and mental rest to the child. The child should not be:
- Allowed to attend school or games.
- He should desist from attending gym or going to other places involving strain on body and brain.
- He should not participate in biking or skating.
All this is to make the brain heal. It is not possible to set the recovery time. It will differ from child to child and for nature of injury. The child should not be allowed to resume normal activity till the symptoms have ended and the brain functioning returns to the original level. Even when you think that the child is normal do consult the doctor before the start of physical and mental activities. Healthy kids will recover faster as compared to lesser healthy kids. Once the child is allowed to resume normal activity return should be slow and steady both for studies and games.
Ensure that the child uses proper safety headgear while cycling or skating of any type. From the time the child is able to understand instructions, instruct him to take safety precautions and follow safety regulations. This will go a long way in keeping the child safe and sound.