It’s a hard-hitting fact: The effects of concussions can be felt for years, if not lifetimes.
Often seen in young athletes, concussions in teenagers are head injuries that temporarily affect brain function. They can result from any direct blow to the head or even a blow to the body that jostles the head and the brain.
Signs can be immediate, but may not show up for days or even weeks, and in many cases they cannot be pinpointed by a CAT scan or MRI. A common misconception is that concussions cause the injured to pass out when, in fact, most people remain conscious.
Studies have shown that recovery time is longer and more pronounced for adolescents than adults, and that the potential long-term effects of concussions in teenagers can have a debilitating effect on one’s school and social activities. For this reason, The American Academy of Pediatrics has established critical guidelines denoting the care for concussions in teenage athletes, and adolescents in general.
Concussions in teenagers are a serious matter, and symptoms can be fleeting, or even non-existent. For the parents of young athletes, understanding the signs of a concussion is critical to ensure swift and proper treatment that can ward off any long lasting effects to a child’s development and well-being.
Keep an eye out for the following five identifying traits, and seek medical attention immediately should any or all manifest:
- Dizziness or headache that lasts for more than a few minutes
- Blurred vision or trouble focusing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance and coordination issues
- Confusion and/or difficulty concentrating
In addition to these identifiers, teenagers who have sustained a concussion may experience slurred speech or say nonsensical things. Sleep issues, such as insomnia, waking up frequently throughout the night, and fatigue or tiredness throughout the day, are also common, and can be accompanied by extreme emotions and mood swings.
Because athletes who have endured a concussion are far more likely to suffer them in the future, the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines state that any teenage athlete who sustains a head injury should never return to the field the same day.
While recovering, teenagers may need to take frequent breaks, reduce time spent reading, texting, and watching television, and reengage with school, sports, and homework gradually. The good news, however, is that recovery is entirely possible and highly successful, with timely medical intervention.
The bottom line is that every head injury in teenagers should be treated like a concussion. If you believe your child may be at risk, seek medical attention immediately. KinderMender offers locations in Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Laurel. Call us today at 443-492-4000.