With spring sports around the corner, now is the time to make yourself aware of concussion and how to keep your child safe. While preventing traumatic brain injuries (TBI) is ideal, children do get hurt.
Imagine that you’ve just left the emergency room after your child has been treated for a concussion. Like most parents, you find that getting back to the normal routine of home gives you time to reflect on your visit and your child’s recovery process.
Most children who hurt their heads get well and have no long-term problems. But every child is different and so can be the recovery from head injury. As a parent, you know your child best. Follow up with your pediatrician if you sense things are different after a traumatic brain injury.
Answers to questions we commonly hear from parents
Question: What did the doctors and nurses really say? Didn’t they say it was a traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Or was it a concussion?
Answer: A concussion, or mild head injury, is a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Question: My child did not lose consciousness or stay in the hospital. Does this mean she did not experience a TBI?
Answer: Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness and some children experience problems stemming from their TBI that may not be noticed right away. After leaving the hospital, symptoms may last for days, weeks, or much longer.
Question: He looks fine but the doctor said that the effects of a concussion could look different?
Answer: Most brain injuries are not visible. The symptoms your child experiences may not be obvious or immediately linked to the injury.
Understanding how young brains heal
Children often take longer than adults to recover from similar traumatic brain injuries. Parents should take extra steps to protect their children from a second brain injury. Having a concussion puts children and adults at greater risk of having another. Recovery may also take longer after a second concussion.
Project Brain, a collaboration of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital and the state of Tennessee, is available to follow up with you after your child leaves the hospital and transitions back home and to school. Our Signs and Symptoms handout helps parents spot problems they may see as their child recovers from a traumatic brain injury.
With your permission, Project BRAIN will also tell your child’s school about the injury and provide them with the same information parents receive at the hospital. School is where most children get rehabilitation after a brain injury.
Websites for additional information include:
Teri Powell is the Brain Injury Transition Liaison with Project BRAIN, an affiliate of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.