A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

How to recognize kids’ concussion symptoms

boys running with a football outside

Concussion incidents aren’t limited to high profile contact sports like football or hockey. They also occur in soccer, basketball and other team sports.

Personal stories from professional athletes have raised awareness about concussion but haven’t necessarily improved whether young athletes and parents recognize symptoms.

Research on concussion awareness

Findings in a recent University of Florida study published in the Journal of Athletic Training found high school football players didn’t have enough knowledge regarding concussion symptoms and the long-term consequences of not appropriately treating the injury.

Study results showed most athletes understood basic symptoms such as headache, dizziness or confusion. Only 55 percent of the time, did athletes recognize other possible symptoms of concussion including fatigue, nausea or vomiting, neck pain, grogginess, behavior changes, difficulty controlling emotions, nervousness and irritability.

Additionally, more than 30 percent of athletes failed to recognize brain hemorrhage, early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease as potential consequences of not seeking timely care for concussion.

Talk to your kids about concussion

Florida, like Wisconsin and many other states, requires parents of athletes to sign consent forms indicating they have discussed concussion awareness with their children. In the Florida study, 60 percent of athletes reported having formal education about concussion, but only 54 percent reported discussing concussions with their parents or guardians.

In the majority of high school athletes who suffer concussion, consciousness is not lost. Headache is the most common symptom, but it’s not the only symptom. Symptoms may develop a few hours after and striking or impacting forces don’t need to be directly to the head.

Concussion incidents also aren’t limited to high profile contact sports like football or hockey. Young athletes playing recreational soccer, basketball and other team sports also are at risk.

Players and parents need to speak up

Given the potentially severe consequences of mismanagement, recognizing concussion signs and symptoms and reporting when concussion is suspected — is critical. Student athletes and parents can help. You may experience symptoms on the playing field or sidelines that are not immediately visible to others.

Talk with your doctor about concussion during your pre-participation evaluation or well-child exam and share symptom concerns with your coaches and athletic trainer.

This post provided by Sports Wrap, from Marshfield Clinic Sports Medicine.

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