Sports concussions

Sports concussions

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Access our safety guide on concussions here (PDF)

The Children’s Andrews Institute specializes in the evaluation and treatment of concussions, mild traumatic brain injuries that can cause headaches, confusion and memory loss.

To provide your child with the best care possible, we have assembled a team of experts, including sports medicine specialists and neurologists. Together, they provide high quality and comprehensive care for children and teens with concussions.

Concussions are common injuries in children — especially in those who play sports. When treated, most children recover fully from mild cases with no long-term effects. However, if children experience repeated concussions, there’s a possibility of lasting brain damage. Our physicians are here to make sure your child is diagnosed and treated quickly to avoid that from happening.

If your child experiences a head injury in sports or play, we know you don’t want to be kept waiting to find out. That’s why we perform needed tests, make an accurate diagnosis and give you a clear plan as soon as possible.

Learn more about concussions. 

Symptoms

Symptoms of Concussions

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that most often occurs in contact sports such as football and soccer. It’s caused by powerful blow to the body or the head that shakes the brain inside the skull, possibly damaging nerves and blood vessels. When this happens, the brain may not function normally, causing problems with vision, hearing, balance and memory.

The signs and symptoms of concussions vary from child to child, depending on severity of the trauma. These commonly include:  

  • Headache
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Loss of memory
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Symptoms may worsen in the days following the injury – especially when the brain is stressed, such as during schoolwork or sports.

While concussions aren’t life threatening, the consequences are sometimes serious. When a child experiences a head injury, we advise parents to seek treatment as soon as possible, to avoid any possible further brain damage. 

Tests and Diagnosis

Diagnosing Concussions

Concussions are a common condition in children, but can be difficult to diagnose. Symptoms are often vague and may come and go in the days and weeks following the injury. Fortunately, the sports medicine specialists at the Andrews Institute are experts at diagnosing concussions.

When a child is diagnosed early, our physicians can use effective treatments that enable a safe return to normal activities such as sports. Our physicians start with a full assessment and evaluation that includes a medical history review and physical exam.

Your child’s physical evaluation may test:

  • Head-and-neck range of motion
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Reflexes
  • Balance and coordination
  • Memory and concentration

In rare cases, we may order an imaging scan — such as an MRI or CT scan —  to examine the brain for possible bleeding or swelling in the skull.

Treatments

Treating Concussions

At the Andrews Institute, we are committed to helping your child return safely to normal activities like sports and play. We offer a wide variety of minimally invasive treatment options that restore joint function and promote fast healing and quick recovery.

Physicians start with conservative treatment approaches including:

  • Medication to manage pain
  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

If symptoms continue to worsen, we may recommend minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. (Learn more about arthroscopy.)

Resources

Concussions Resources

Learn more about concussions in children:

FAQs

Concussions FAQs

How can I prevent my child from getting a concussion?

Make sure your child wears a helmet while playing contact sports. While helmets can’t prevent concussions, they can limit the severity of the concussion.

When can my child return to sports after suffering a concussion?

It depends. Concussions affect children in different ways. Some children may recover quickly; Others may have symptoms that last for weeks. Allowing the injury to fully heal will help lower the risk of second-impact syndrome, a condition that causes further and more serious brain damage. 

What are the possible long-term effects of a concussion on my child?

Most children recover fully from mild concussions with no long-term effects. If your child experiences repeated concussions, there’s a possibility of lasting brain damage. That’s why prevention strategies such as helmeting and comprehensive treatment are so important. 

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