According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program (that’s a mouthful), there are between 1.7 million and 3 million sports and recreation related concussions each year. About 300,000 of those are football related and 1 in 10 high school athletes in contact sports will suffer a concussion this year. The even scarier number is that 5 out of 10 concussions go unreported or undetected.
As a mom of 4 kids that all play contact sports, those numbers are frightening and the more I read about concussions and their long term effects, I am becoming more of a worrier than I already am.
This past football season was the first time one of my three boys suffered a concussion while playing football, or at least one that we actually knew about. Had my husband not been at practice, I’m not sure if my kid would have actually told me what happened.
The next day when I took him to the doctor he told her what had happened and that he had a slight headache and proceeded to roll his eyes at me. In his mind, he was fine and he didn’t need to see a doctor. The doctor, a friend of ours, made the point to show him in a mirror how when he moved his eyes back in forth to follow her finger, his eyeballs were not moving smoothly, they were actually jumping a bit. She looked at me and said, yup, he has a traumatic brain injury, i.e., a concussion. He was shocked.
She then schooled us both in, along with physical rest, how he needed to limit, or almost eliminate, cognitive activity in order to rest his brain to let it heal. What that meant was no video games, no messing around on his phone, no computer, no reading, no homework, etc. After the headache was gone he could start back with some of those activities a little at a time.
It did take him a few weeks to get back to his normal routine after he attempted to read a few times the first week and almost immediately his headache came back. I know he wasn’t just yanking my chain either because he really does enjoy reading and for him it was difficult not to pick up a book.
It certainly was an eye opening experience for mom and I cringe to think of the possibility of my other kids actually suffering a concussion and not knowing it.
I was happy to see some headlines in the news this week to support exactly what the doctor had told us about the healing of concussions in kids. It’s not just keeping them from the physical activity, laying off the cognitive activities was shown to help the kids heal faster.
To read more click on the CBS news article below.