What Your Young Athlete Should Know About Concussions

What Your Young Athlete Should Know About Concussions

More than 300,000 young athletes experience sports-related concussions every year in the United States, according to a study by the University of Pittsburgh's Brain Trauma Research Center.

Our team at Gables Neurology in Miami, Florida, led by Dr. Andrew Lerman, provides outstanding care for neurophysiological and neurological disorders, including the latest diagnostics and treatments for concussion and post-concussion syndrome.

Check these facts about concussions in young athletes.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when your brain forcefully strikes the walls of your inner skull. Although the results are usually temporary, this trauma can result in impairment of reflexes, memory, judgment, speech, balance, or muscle coordination.

A blow to your head sustained during a fall, sports injury, car accident, physical altercation, or other trauma is a leading cause of concussion. However, violent shaking of your upper body or whiplash-type injuries can also cause a concussion.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

The symptoms of a concussion vary in severity and, contrary to popular belief, don’t usually include loss of consciousness. 

You may, however, develop:

Many people with a concussion report “seeing stars” and are often dazed or confused. They may not remember what occurred during the accident or fall, have difficulty responding to questions, or repeatedly ask the same question.

What are the possible complications of a concussion?

Most people recover from a concussion within a few days, provided no further injury occurs. However, symptoms lasting longer than three weeks may indicate post-concussion syndrome, which causes long-term problems with memory, concentration, mood swings, personality changes, debilitating headaches, and excessive fatigue.

Rarely, a condition known as second impact syndrome occurs when fatal brain swelling develops when a second concussion occurs before you’ve entirely recovered from a previous injury.

What should I do if I think my young athlete has a concussion?

Concussions sustained during youth and college sports are common and particularly problematic if the athlete returns to the game before full recovery.

Sports that increase your risk of concussion include football, boxing, martial arts, soccer, hockey, and basketball. However, it’s not the sport, but the type of injury sustained that raises the concern for concussion. For example, even a slip and fall on the tennis court can result in a head injury.

Dr. Lerman encourages anyone concerned about a possible concussion to schedule a neurological evaluation. Otherwise, seek emergency care if your athlete develops:

Most experts agree that an athlete shouldn’t return to the game the same day they sustain a concussion, even if they’re feeling fine. Treatment for a mild concussion typically includes rest and observation. 

Any athlete who develops post-concussion syndrome or has more than one concussion should seek specialty care and medical clearance before returning to a sport.

For more information about diagnosing and treating concussions, schedule an evaluation at Gables Neurology by calling our office today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Botox Can Treat Your Migraines

It’s got an excellent reputation for smoothing away wrinkles. But did you know Botox® injections can also prevent migraines? Check these facts about when and why our specialist may recommend Botox for your migraines.

Myths and Facts About Multiple Sclerosis

Have you or a loved one recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS)? Are you finding it difficult to sort through all the information flooding your way? Our specialist can help by countering the myths about MS with reliable facts.

Common Migraine Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Identifying and avoiding migraine triggers when you can is a crucial component of prevention. Our team offers insight into solving the mystery of what might be inducing your pain. We’ve also got info about the most effective migraine treatments.

Helping a Loved One with Alzheimer's

It takes significant patience, compassion, and respect to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, but support is available. Our team discusses the many practical ways you can help a loved one with Alzheimer’s, and why your involvement matters.

5 Steps You Can Take to Help Prevent Dementia

Dementia isn’t always predictable and isn’t yet curable, but there’s much you can do to decrease your risk of this complex condition. Our team discusses what increases your risk of dementia and steps you can take to help prevent it.