Years ago, if a child was playing a sport and was involved in a collision or impact with another player or object, they might come out of the game for a little bit. The coach would give them a look over and maybe ask them how many fingers he was holding up, then chalk it up to the child getting “dinged.”
These days, we have a lot more information about what the symptoms of a concussion are and the potential hazard of going undiagnosed. From being dizzy, to having nausea, to ringing in the ears, not everyone experiences symptoms the same way. It is a hot topic among safety and medical professionals, not just in professional sports, but at the children’s level too.
Dr. Jerry Ned Pruitt II is an associate professor of neurology and the director of outpatient neurosciences at Georgia Health Sciences University. He is also a recipient of the Patient’s Choice Award in 2010 and 2011, according to his Vitals profile. Dr. Pruitt explained that just observing a person’s symptoms after a head injury is not enough to discern how serious an injury is:
“The severity of the symptoms does not necessarily correlate with the severity of the injury.”
Dr. Steven A. Greer, associate professor and program director for Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at GHSU, added:
“Most concussions resolve on their own after minutes, days or weeks. But you have to let it resolve. Think of it as a broken bone and, until it has healed, you can’t do anything.
One of the biggest dangers of a concussion going untreated or misdiagnosed is what is called second impact syndrome. That is where the person who sustained their first concussion has a steeply increased chance of receiving a second concussion.
Besides the typical sports thought of as being associated with head injury, such as football or hockey, there was another finding released last week. At the Charleston Civic Center in West Virginia, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that in a national study of nine high school sports, 136,000 traumatic brain injuries were reported, and most occurred in football and girls’ soccer.
Proper diagnosis and precaution is important for head injuries at every level, and it starts with children and teaching the proper ways to handle possible concussions. We’ve all seen the increased correlation between early onset of dementia and concussions, so it’s time to start being more proactive in properly treating and preventing some of the after effects.