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Children’s Health: Kids, Concussions and Football

A concussion is a type of injury that is caused by force on the brain, such as a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body. It’s a common misconception that a concussion can only be caused by a direct hit to the head, when it’s actually just as likely to occur when the body is hit and the force of the impact jolts the head or neck.

Signs of a concussion can appear immediately, while others may take hours or days to develop. Sometimes symptoms of a concussion aren’t as obvious to the player as they might be to a coach, teammate or parent. Symptoms a player may report include:

  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fatigue.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Sensitivity to light and sound.

A few of the effects that parents or loved ones may notice are:

  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Irritability and other personality changes.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.

If a parent suspects their child has suffered a concussion or any type of head injury, they should seek medical attention immediately for proper evaluation, diagnosis and treatment.

If your child exhibits severe symptoms of concussion, such as repeated vomiting or an extended loss of consciousness, take them to the closest emergency department for treatment.

While most young athletes don’t want to miss a game because of a concussion, it’s important to be evaluated by a doctor before returning to the field. LeBauer Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic in Greensboro has a dedicated team of providers who specialize in treating concussions in teen athletes. Using the ImPACTⓇ  (immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing) tool, LeBauer specialists assess the memory, visual processing speed and reaction time of the patient to understand the extent of their injury. Ideally, athletes could complete a baseline assessment when they are healthy for their provider to compare the new scan to, but results can also be compared to data of patients of similar ages and genders.

LeBauer Sports Medicine Concussion Clinic created a hotline staffed by a sports medicine concussion specialist to assess reported symptoms and provide recommendations prior to an appointment. The Concussion Hotline (336-851-8436) is staffed Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Patients can also call after hours and leave a voicemail that will be returned the following business day. Appointments for acute injuries are available within 24 to 48 hours.

Spokesperson Background:

Valerie Wolf, MS, LAT, ATC, ITAT, is director of athletic training and concussion clinic at LeBauer Sports Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Wolf received her Master of Science in athletic training from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.