Due to the number of complaints and issues regarding concussion protocol, 2 years ago the NCAA released new safety guidelines on football hitting and concussions, brought on by the news making lawsuits by some well known professional football players and their loved ones.
Perhaps the most memorable case was that of Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge, who suffered from multiple concussions and tragically took his own life. This tragic turn of events has spurred various lawsuits, new laws and awareness campaigns to increase awareness of the long term effects of concussions and traumatic brain injury.
Until recently, the effects of traumatic brain injury had not been in the forefront. Knowing the signs of concussions can have a huge impact on knowing whether or not you or your child has a concussion.
Since then, this new awareness has created a trickle down effect, impacting Pop Warner youth leagues, high school and college level football teams, all the way up to the NFL and AFL. This does not just include football, but many other sports including wrestling, soccer, field and ice hockey, basketball and cheerleading all run the risk of concussion. Massachusetts and many other states, have passed concussion guidelines and laws requiring parties involved to pass concussion protocols. Coaches,trainers, phys-ed teachers and anyone working with student athletes or professional athletes are required to under-go training on concussion symptoms and what to look for, how to treat, and how to educate their athletes on the dangers of concussions and head injuries caused by severe blows to the head.
Knowing the signs of concussions
If your athlete has suffered a blow to the head the next 24 -48 hours are critical.
Observe your athlete over the next few days for the following signs: Any symptoms such as
- increased confusion
- slurred speech
- excessive sleep or ongoing lethargy are signs that your athlete may have suffered a concussion.
The majority of head blows do not, in fact, result in concussions. If, following an exam, the results are normal, the typical protocol is for the child to take a few days off and then return to their normal activities or sports.
Things to ask your pediatrician during a concussion exam:
Your doctor should conduct a neurological exam to accompany the concussion screening, during which they check for loss of coordination, watch for difficulty in answering simple factual questions and observe the child for signs of confusion, fatigue or lethargy. Some questions they may ask include:
- Has there been a loss of consciousness?
- Where (on the head) the injury took place
- Has there been nausea or vomiting prior to seeing the doctor?
- Has the athlete experienced either retrograde or anterograde amnesia?
If any of these symptoms continue to occur, it is very important that you come in for a comprehensive concussion exam, sooner rather than later. If your child has received a head blow, and you’re unsure of whether this is a concussion or not, feel free to come in and be seen by one of our providers. Walk in, no appointment necessary. We are located at 117a Stafford Street in New Bedford, and are open 7 days per week, Mondays-Fridays from 8am-8pm and on weekends from 8am-5pm.