A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a hit to the body. It results in the head moving rapidly back and forth and causes changes in brain function that can last anywhere from minutes to weeks. In some cases, there may be prolonged complications.
Immediately following a concussion your child should be evaluated by a team trainer or other medical professional. There may or may not be momentary loss of consciousness, and symptoms following a concussion may include:
Seek immediate evaluation by a medical professional. Allow your child to rest following the injury, with a gradual increase in mental and physical activities over the following days. Children should stop participation in any sporting event the day of a concussion.
Most concussion related symptoms will resolve within a few days or weeks. Sometimes, symptoms can persist for several weeks.
The Pediatric Concussion Clinic at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital evaluates children who have prolonged or complicated recovery from concussion. The clinic is designed to provide rehabilitation care for children who have atypical or persistent symptoms (lasting four weeks or more following the injury).
Your child will first see a pediatric neuropsychologist who will assess cognitive, emotional, and behavior concerns. You’ll discuss how the persistent problems affect your child’s daily life (both at home and at school). Your doctor will help determine if these are related to or coincidental with the concussion and then offer relevant recommendations (e.g., school accommodations, counseling services).
Your child will then see a pediatric physiatrist (a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) who will first discuss findings with the neuropsychologist and then further evaluate the ongoing symptoms with additional questioning in a detailed neurological examination.
The team will then make detailed recommendations for ongoing treatment, which may include: