Youth Sports Concussions Part 1 – Overview

Katie's Child Safety Blog talks about Youth Sports Concussions.
The following information is excerpted from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia‘s website. Links to the original articles are at the end of this post.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) that affects the way the brain functions. Concussions used to be referred to as a “ding” or “having your bell rung,” and were brushed off as “no big deal” and a normal part of playing sports.
However, we now know more about concussions and understand that any suspected concussion must be taken seriously. A more clinical explanation mentions that a concussion is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or body that causes the brain to shake. Every year, thousands of kids are diagnosed with concussion. Even though the focus of this series of posts is sports concussions, keep in mind that only half are sports related.
Concussions can occur even when a child does not lose consciousness. Actually, only 10 percent of children with concussions report being “knocked out.” Some of the symptoms of a concussion can appear immediately after the injury, while others may not show up for several days. Symptoms may last days, weeks or months. Sometimes symptoms may be subtle and not obvious.
How is a concussion diagnosed?
Your child’s doctor will ask multiple questions to understand how the injury happened and what symptoms your child is experiencing. The doctor will conduct a physical exam testing:
  1. Your child’s head-and-neck range of motion
  2. Balance, eye movement
  3. Neurocognitive ability.
As an example, your child may be asked to play a memory game that challenges his “delayed recall” ability. Your child may also be asked to take a computerized test to better understand how his brain is functioning. Understand, there is no single test that can diagnose a concussion.
You cannot see a concussion on brain imaging, like a CT scan or an MRI. Brain imaging looks at the structure of the brain and a concussion affects the function of the brain, not its structure. Doctors will use all of the information they have gathered to diagnose and manage your child’s concussion. During follow-up visits, your child’s doctor may repeat some of the exams to see if concussion symptoms are improving.


What are the symptoms of a concussion?
The easiest way to show you is to show you. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has created an outstanding infographic for the symptoms of a concussion. CHOP encourages others to embed this infographic on their site or in a post and the Children’s Safety Blog has done exactly that.
The following Infographic was created by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia:
Children's Safety Blog CHOP Concussion Symptoms.
To read the two articles from Children’s Hospital and see all of their infographics use the following two links:
Photo credit: Fort Meade / Foter / CC BY