Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Autumn Asks: How Much Do You Know About TBI's and Concussions?

I am not much of a football fan, but I have to admit I am very thankful to the sport for bring awareness to the public about concussions and permanent Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI's).

If you are a parent - especially of a child in sports - you really need to learn about TBI's and how they can cripple your child. For years you heard nothing of this, but with the new attention the NFL is paying this injury it is now being researched and treated and recognized for the injury it is.

My life has personally been touched by this monster due to a child that I am very close to having a simple bike wreck.  Yes, she was wearing a helmet.  And she was taken to the hospital and treated for a concussion.  When she was better she returned to playing basketball on the school team only to be hit in the head with the ball and re-injured.  More than once.  And she feel out of the bed and re-injured.  More than once.  And what began as a concussion ended with a diagnosis of TBI.

For a couple of years we all held out hope that the brain would heal and she would return to normal.  But after a couple of years the doctors gave up on that.  Let me tell you, seeing a teenager wake up and act like she was 8 all over again is weird.  The years and memories after that age just weren't there. Every day it was different. One day she was her 8 year old self. The next day she was her 10 year old self.  The next day she remembered everything except the accident.  Now think -- how do you send a child with that issue to a school?  You really can't.

And now the CDC is trying to get the info out to more parents to be able to recognize the injuries and dangers.  Hearing this, I volunteered to do a post to try to bring some more attention to the subject.  So here is some information they want you to see:

What is the most important thing for parents to know about concussion?
Most kids and teens with concussion get better quickly and fully. However, how quickly depends on many factors. In particular, rest is very important after a concussion because it helps the brain to heal. Explain to your child or teen that ignoring concussion symptoms and trying to “tough it out” often makes symptoms worse. Only when his or her symptoms have reduced significantly, in consultation with their health care professional, should he or she slowly and gradually return to your daily activities, such as school. If his or her symptoms come back or new symptoms appear as he or she becomes more active, this is a sign that your child or teen is pushing his or herself too hard. Your child or teen should stop these activities and take more time to rest and recover. As the days go by, he or she can expect to gradually feel better. Parents can learn more about concussion signs and symptoms, what to expect, how to help kids and teens feel better, and additional support resources atwww.cdc.gov/Concussion.  
Remember: children and teens with a concussion should NEVER return to sports or recreation activities on the same day the injury occurred. They should delay returning to their activities until a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. This means not returning to:
·        Physical Education (PE) class,
·        Sports practices or games,
·        Physical activity at recess,
·        Play at home or weekend activities.
For more information on helping your child safely return to play, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/index.html.

This is very important. Realize that even this may not be good enough though.  Butterfly was kept home as long as the doctor thought she should be and released to return to sports when they felt it was safe.  This was not rushed.  But a ball to the head caused re-injury.

Concussions can also affect kids and teens in the classroom. When a child with a suspected concussion is returning to school, parents should watch for and ask school professionals to keep an eye out for problems like inability to pay attention, remember or learn new information; inappropriate or impulsive behavior during class; or other concussion symptoms such as fatigue or headaches. For more on what to do after a concussion, visit http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/index.html.

As needed, help your child or teen get appropriate support when returning to school after a concussion. Talk with your child’s teachers, school nurse, coach, speech-language pathologist, or counselor about your child’s concussion and symptoms. Your child may feel frustrated, sad, and even angry because she or he cannot return to recreation and sports right away, or cannot keep up with schoolwork. Your child may also feel isolated from peers and social networks. Talk often with your child about these issues and offer your support and encouragement. As your child’s symptoms decrease, the extra help or support can be removed gradually. Children and teens who return to school after a concussion may need to:
·        Take rest breaks as needed,
·        Spend fewer hours at school,
·        Be given more time to take tests or complete assignments,
·        Receive help with schoolwork, and/or
·        Reduce time spent reading, writing, or on the computer.

                        For more information on helping your child safely return to school, visit:                                                                         

Realize that if the injury is bad enough, returning to school might not work out too well. Butterfly needed excessive sleep time for a year.  This does not go well with a school schedule. All of the above suggestions were tried and more. In the end it was determined that it was much better to take the child out of her private school and home school her around her sleeping.  The brain needed the rest.  This alone should grab a parents attention enough to take this seriously.

Also, learn more about CDC’s TBI and concussion activities and join the conversation at: www.facebook.com/cdcheadsup.

Tomorrow I will post more on exactly how to recognize a concussion. The CDC has an awareness program to help parents.

No comments:

Post a Comment