It would be great to prevent a young athlete from suffering a concussion. Better helmets, better techniques for heading the ball in soccer, rule changes in contact and collision sports and more can lower the rates of concussions, but we can never prevent every concussion.
In this video, I don’t share tips for preventing a concussion. I offer suggestions on minimizing the long-term risks should your child suffer a concussion.
Recognize the symptoms of a concussion.
Many young athletes assume that headaches are the main symptom of a concussion, and they are right to some extent. But there are many other symptoms that at least suggest they could have brain injury, and they need to understand these symptoms to get checked out.
Dizziness, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, nausea, balance issues and more all could suggest a traumatic brain injury.
Tell your coach or an athletic trainer or doctor you got hurt.
Young athletes need to tell their coach, or preferably the athletic trainer or team doctor, that they got hurt. They should never try to hide the injury in order to stay in the game.
Go see a doctor, preferably a specialist.
It’s reasonable after a serious injury to go to an emergency room and be evaluated for a serious brain injury, like a hemorrhage or hematoma inside the skull. If it turns out to be a concussion, following up with a primary-care sports medicine specialist or neurologist who has expertise treating sport-related concussions is essential to take the necessary steps to help you recover quickly but safely.
Do not return too soon.
It’s key that young athletes not return to play sports before they have fully recovered from the brain injury. When it’s safe to exercise, or to go to school and study, are important questions too. A specialist in sport-related concussions can guide you through the recovery process.