Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Concusions and your Children

     The month of March is Brain Injury month, and though it is almost May as parents we are still very concerned about children and concussions.  In March the focus is on children, teens and adults that play sports but do we ever really think about our children now that it is coming up on the summer months about them getting hurt and getting concussions?  Do you know the signs of a concussion?  If your child gets a concussion do you know the steps to treat it?  Follow me and learn some of the signs and treatments for Concussions and TBI's, and steps we can take as parents to prevent them!

 TheCenters for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) reminds us that traumatic brain injury (TBI), including
concussion, is a serious public health problem in the United States.  Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. Data shows that, on average, approximately 1.7 million people die, are hospitalized, or are seen in an emergency department for a traumatic brain injury annually. Almost half a million emergency department visits for TBI that occur each year are among children aged 0 to 14 years.  While children may break a bone or even get a common cold and heal faster than adults, the studies show that teens and children take longer to heal form a concussion or TBI than adults.

     If  your child plays sport at school, or away from school know how things are going.  If your child is acting a little strange talk to them and find out what is going on.  Every parent needs to be involved in their children's sports and and have very good communication with the coaches and teachers of these programs.  My children are not involved ina ny sports outside of the things our family does.  We enjoy fishing, camping, hikeing, and swimming.  Still all of which can resulst in a concussion.

I wrote this blog post while participating in a SocialMoms blogging program for which I may receive a thank you kit.” For more information on how you can participate, click here
So what is a concussion? A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can literally cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. What you might not know is that these chemical changes make the brain more vulnerable to further injury. During this window of vulnerability the brain is more sensitive to any increased stress or injury, until it fully recovers.

It’s important for parents, athletes, and coaches to know about concussion. So what should you do if you think your teen has a concussion? CDC developed the following 4-step Heads Up Action Plan to help you protect your child or teen if you suspect they have a concussion:

1. Keep your teen out of play. If your child or teen has a concussion, her/his brain needs time to heal. Don’t let your child or teen return to play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says he or she is symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks)—can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in edema (brain swelling), permanent brain damage, and even death.

2. Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child or teen to return to sports. 

3. Teach your child or teen that it’s not smart to play with a concussion. Rest is key after a concussion. Sometimes athletes wrongly believe that it shows strength and courage to play injured. Discourage others from pressuring injured athletes to play. Don’t let your child or teen convince you that s/he’s “just fine.”

4. Tell all of your child or teen’s coaches and the school nurse about ANY concussion. Coaches, school nurses, and other school staff should know if your child or teen has ever had a concussion. Your child or teen may need to limit activities while s/he is recovering from a concussion. Things such as studying, driving, working on a computer, playing video games, or exercising may cause concussion symptoms to reappear or get worse. Talk to your health care professional, as well as your child or teen’s coaches, school nurse, and teachers. If needed, they can help adjust your child or teen’s school activities during her/his recovery.

     As you can see by my blog photo my family enjoys dirt bike riding and helmets are REQUIRED.  It is not an option if you wanna ride you have to wear one.  My son rode his one time without his helmet when we first got his dirt bike 2 years ago and hit the corner of his grandpa's truck.  It knocked the tail light out and sprained his wrist but it could have been a life changing outcome.  Everyone and the hospital asked was he wearing a helmet and I had to say no in shame.  At that time we hadn't bought him a helmet yet, but he wasn't allowed to even sit on the bike after that without a helmet on.  We were blessed that he wasn't hurt in any other way.    We stay on a very busy road and it has happened a few times in the last few years that a car runs off the road and right into our front yard.  We had a young lady that was hit by a car walking down the road here so my children are not allowed to go but so far towards the road. 

     During the summer months that we are coming into our children will be riding their bicycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, scooters, etc. and we never even think about some of these causing our children to have a concussion.  I know I never even thought about it, but ow that is the first thing I think about.  Can you imagine for one second being at home reading a book or just watching TV and getting a phone call that they are rushing one of your little ones to the ER because he was in an accident and he wasn't wearing a helmet?  The chance of survival is much greater if they have a helmet on remember once when I was cooking supper and I went to get my crock pot down, the lid feel and busted me in my head.  I had a small gash on my forehead and it was bleeding pretty bad.  I felt fine but my husband was determined that I need to go to the ER.  Thank goodness it looked much worse than it really was but it could have been much worse. 

In addition to this, the Heads Up campaign includes tailored educational materials and messages developed for specific audiences, such as:   
To learn more about the Heads Up initiatives and to order your own materials, visit

In review always wear helmets, and if you are hit in the head to any degree let someone know. Talk to your children about the importance of concussions and share any ideas or memories you have had!

Disclaimer I wrote this blog post while participating in a SocialMoms blogging program for which I may receive a thank you kit.” For more information on how you can participate, click here