Heads Up on Concussion Care
What’s the biggest mistake parents make about concussions? Many still think they need to wake their child every hour to check for worsening symptoms. Most parents also don’t know what to look for, if it may be more serious, after being sent home.
“Any sudden vomiting, blurry vision, lack of balance, slurred speech or a headache that keeps getting worse (not same or better) should be taken to an emergency room,” said Kierstin Mergens, CHI Health certified athletic trainer.
What’s the most important thing parents should do after a concussion? Listen to what the health care provider tells you. Limit screen time to 15 minutes every hour, break up anything that requires a lot of focus (such as homework) to 15-minute sessions. Be aware of sensitivity to light and sound and plan accordingly. The most important factor for a parent is to ask questions and listen to what your child says. Pay attention to the situation.
Concussion Fact or Fallacy
You don’t have to hit your head: Fact.
A blow to the neck or body can cause the brain to accelerate and decelerate inside the skull and that whiplash of the head can cause a concussion.
You shouldn’t go to sleep: Fallacy.
Sleep is okay as long as symptoms aren’t getting worse. In fact, sleep is how the brain begins to heal. “It’s also a myth that you need to wake the child every hour. Let them sleep!” said Kierstin Mergens, CHI Health certified athletic trainer.
Your concussion can take a turn for the worse: Fact.
“An athlete experiencing sudden vomiting, blurry vision, lack of balance, slurred speech or a headache that keeps getting worse should be taken to the ER,” Mergens said.
You can play when symptoms improve: Fallacy.
Experts agree that athletes should never return to play with any remaining symptoms.