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Offered by Brittany LaVoy, MD, FAAP – Brighton Pediatrics

The importance of recognizing symptoms of a concussion has been widely discussed in recent years. It is now known that individuals who have a significant number of concussions in their lifetime are at higher risk for long term damage to the brain. So what are the symptoms of a concussion?

The symptoms of a concussion can vary widely. They include mild to severe headache, nausea, vomiting, difficulty concentrating or a feeling of “fogginess”, changes in behavior or mood, and changes in balance. These symptoms can vary in severity as well as in the length of time they are present. Because of this there is no “one size fits all” approach to concussions. So what should you do if your child seems to have symptoms of a concussion?

Following a concussion, or if there is concern for a possible concussion, it is important to have an evaluation by a physician soon after. If at the time of injury there is a loss of consciousness (when someone is “knocked out”), or there are severe symptoms, this evaluation should first occur in an ER. Following this, your child should be evaluated by their doctor and a plan to return to school and sports should be made specific to your child and their symptoms. This may include time off from both school and sports or sports only. Your child should be kept from playing sports until this evaluation occurs. Being able to participate normally in school is the first step in returning to sports. If at anytime during returning to school or starting to again participate in athletic activities concussion symptoms return, your child should not continue sports participation and be re-evaluated by their physician. The worst symptoms of a concussion usually occur in the first few hours to a day following a concussion. Less severe symptoms can continue for a few days to a few weeks.

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