A Parent’s Guide

As a busy parent, you may not understand the full complexity of concussions – they are a tricky topic! It’s easy to identify your child’s bruise or scrape, but it’s not always as simple to identify an injury inside the head. If your child has experienced a sudden blow or impact, some signs of concussion include: headache, nausea, difficulty concentrating and various emotional issues – a full list of symptoms is here. You need to be alert to these symptoms – just as you would treat a sprained ankle, you also need to make sure you treat and respond to “sprained brains”.

Common Myths and Facts
Myths Facts
Helmets can protect against concussions There is no helmet available to make your child concussion-proof
My child didn’t get hit on the head – so there’s no way he has a concussion A hit does not have to be directly to the head in order to result in a concussion
As long as I keep my child out of sports until she’s better she can do anything else Concussions require mental and physical rest beyond avoiding the activity where the concussion occurred
As long as my child rests it is not necessary to see a doctor Concussions are injuries – they are best treated by someone with experience
If my child did not lose consciousness he probably doesn’t have a concussion Concussions do not always include a loss of consciousness and symptoms can take time to emerge

Be Alert: Know that concussions are brain injuries. Teach children to respect the rules of sports and the players. As a parent, you should talk with your children about the meaning of good sportsmanship.

Be Aware: Know how to manage concussions. Even when following the rules of fair play, concussions can still happen. In the event that your child suffers a concussion, you need to be aware of how to best manage and treat this injury.

  • First, it’s always better to be safe than sorry – when in doubt, sit them out. It’s better to miss a few games or classes and have a healed brain.
  • Second, have your Pediatrician or PCP check them out. Even if your child says they feel better, specific guidelines and recommendations outline how best to return to sports and education:

Concussions are not always a one-time event: symptoms may reappear or get worse, and after the first concussion, a
child may be more susceptible to a second and subsequent concussions. It is important to be aware that multiple concussions can add increased strain to your child. Repeated concussions should be taken seriously and activities may need to be altered or even permanently stopped. The advice of a physician is important to consider when making these decisions.

Understand your role: Parents are key influences on children’s risk-taking patterns, particularly through the knowledge they have about their children’s lives and experiences. As a parent, you may wonder how you can help reduce your child’s risk of concussion. First, be aware of the behaviors you display to your children as they are constantly looking to you for examples. In fact, research has demonstrated that parents’ risk-taking behaviors are strong predictors of children’s behaviors in the present and future. Setting proper examples and encouraging safe practices will help ensure your children are learning and viewing the best ways to keep their most important body part safe and healthy.

Click here to learn more about NUTRITION after a concussion

Click here to learn more about SLEEPING after a concussion

Click here to learn more about DRIVING after a concussion