1. Parenting

About Concussions

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As our teenagers grow older, their sports and recreation activities get a little more rough. Since they are at an age where risk taking behavior is the norm and growth spurts can make them a bit clumsy, injuries tend to occur more often than with adults. Quite frequently, they'll hit their head(direct blow) or crash into something with their body(indirect blow). Both of these types of incidents can cause a concussion.

Concussions are a frequent cause for hospital admission, with an estimate of more than 600,000 cases per year in the United States. Many of these cases are related to car accidents, which is something else our teenagers have more than their fair share of.

Here is a listing of facts, symptoms, treatment and prevention of concussions. You may want to cut and paste these into a text file to print out so you can keep them handy in your first aid kit.

Facts

You do not need to be knocked out to have a concussion. There is no set number of symptoms that automatically indicates a concussion. If your teenager is showing signs of any symptoms, take them to a health care professional. Sometimes severe symptoms can take hours or days to show up. Indirect blows such as a 'body slam' in hockey can cause jarring of the brain in the head and result in a concussion.

Symptoms

Having uneven dilated pupils; Having a headache; Feeling sick or throwing up; Noticing blurred vision; Not seeing everything well; Having poor coordination or balance; Having slurred speech; Being slow to answer questions or follow directions; Irritability and low frustration tolerance; Anxiety and depressed mood; and/or Sleep disturbance.

Concussion categories

Grade 1
The mild concussion occurs when the person does not lose consciousness but may seem dazed.

Grade 2
The slightly more severe form occurs when the person does not lose consciousness but has a period of confusion and does not recall the event.

Grade 3
The classic concussion is the most severe form. It occurs when the person loses consciousness for a brief period of time and has no memory of the event. Evaluation from a health-care provider should be performed immediately.

Treatment

In most cases a person will recover from a concussion within a few hours or days. In more severe cases of concussion the last up to several weeks. The treatment for a concussion is usually to watch the person closely for any change in level of consciousness. The person may need to stay in the hospital for close observation. Surgery is usually not necessary. Headache and dizziness are common, but if the headache persists or becomes severe, it is best to seek medical attention. Prevention Wear safety gear for sports, even when playing recreational sports with friends and family. Wear your seat belt when driving. Make everyone in the car do the same. If you receive a blow, direct or indirect, sit down and take a few minutes to make sure you're ok. Do not continue to play if any of the above symptoms are present.

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