What Every Parent Should Know About Young Athletes and Concussions

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What Every Parent Should Know About Young Athletes and Concussions

What Every Parent Should Know About Young Athletes and Concussions in Little Silver, NJ

Concussions are common among athletes. Sometimes it takes a long time to recover, other times it takes a few days or a week. Because of the brain damage brought on by concussions, people experience difficulty with focus, tiredness, memory loss, and unconsciousness. For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from Little Silver NJ, Tinton Falls, Hockhockson, Colts Neck, Oceanport, West Long Branch, Rumson, Holmdel, Middletown Township, Highlands, Centerville, and surrounding areas.

It seems that every season in the NFL, a new concussion controversy arises. This year, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered concussions in back-to-back games. There was outrage across the league over the fact that Tagovailoa resumed play after the first concussion and then started the next game five days later, suffering the same injury.

But while the NFL creates more headlines, middle and high school athletes suffer concussions at alarming rates. With concussions so prevalent and so dangerous, it’s imperative that young athletes know the symptoms and effects of a concussion to protect themselves and their teammates.

Are you a parent of a young athlete who may have suffered a concussion? If so, come in to see the team at Kai Sports Medicine in Little Silver, New Jersey. Board-certified internal medicine and sports medicine specialist Dr. Zachary Perlman is an expert in sports-related concussion management. 

Here, he shares some facts about concussions, their symptoms, and how a concussion should be treated. 

Young athletes and concussions

About 12% of youth athletes experience at least one concussion. Risk of a concussion grows as athletes become stronger and more mature — 18-year-olds are more likely to get concussed than 13-year-olds. And athletes who experience one concussion are more likely to be concussed again. 

In comparable sports, like soccer, girls are 1.5 times more likely to suffer a concussion than boys. The sports with the most prevalent concussion rates include wrestling, martial arts, football, cheerleading, and track and field. 

Symptoms of a concussion

For young athletes and the parents of young athletes, the symptoms of a concussion include those that are felt, like headache, and those visible to others, like a dazed appearance. Symptoms that players may feel include: 

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Loss of balance
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Memory issues

Symptoms that parents can look for include in young athletes include: 

  • Excessive crying
  • Apathy toward people and toys
  • Change in sleeping behaviors
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Listlessness
  • Increased irritability
  • Loss of balance

It should be noted that someone can suffer a concussion and not lose consciousness. However, many athletes lose consciousness in the aftermath of a blow that gives them a concussion.

Medical treatment and playing availability

An athlete must not be allowed to play if a concussion is suspected, even if their symptoms have dissipated. Young athletes who return to play before fully healed are at risk for second impact syndrome, a condition that can cause severe brain swelling from even a minor blow to the head. This swelling can lead to brain damage, paralysis, or even death. 

Athletes who do suffer a concussion need physical and mental rest — no physical activities, screen time, or exposure to bright light or loud noises. A child should get baseline concussion testing before the season so Dr. Perlman can accurately judge the severity of concussion symptoms and monitor the healing progress. 

Recovery can take anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks or even months. In addition to recommending reduced activity, Dr. Perlman often uses a range of nonoperative treatments when managing concussion symptoms, including pain relievers, therapy, and mind-body techniques.

To learn more about concussions or to get your child assessed if you think they’ve sustained a concussion, call to book a visit with the Kai Sports Medicine team. You can also request an appointment through this website.