The Link Between Childhood Concussions and DepressionJessica Cohen
So much has been in the news lately about concussions, both among professional athletes and in children’s sports. The good to come out of the controversy is that concussions and their potential long-term effects are being studied in more depth now, as well as ways to prevent head injuries moving forward.
While concussions are definitely something that concern me as a parent, I know that I cannot put my child in a bubble in order to avoid them. After all, the second I turn around he could fall down and smack his head on the floor of that bubble, now couldn’t he?
Brain injuries including concussions can occur anywhere at any time. Did you know that football is not the activity responsible for the most sports-related head injuries among children? Believe it or not, football is actually second on the list. Can you guess the top activity for causing head injuries among children?
It’s bicycling, with almost twice as many brain injuries as football.
According to the CDC, every year almost half a million emergency department visits for traumatic brain injuries are made by children ages 14 and under. And chief among those emergency room visitors are boys ages 4 and under.
My son has two friends who have suffered from concussions, one whose occurred after being hit by a car a few years ago. Today that friend still has issues with headaches, nausea, eye focus and long periods of intense concentration. And beyond the physical repercussions, it is difficult for those who have endured childhood concussions when they are not medically cleared to participate in other activities.
In fact, compared with other children, kids who have suffered from brain injuries or concussions are more than four times as likely to be diagnosed for depression. Even after researchers adjusted the rates by eliminating all other potential predictors of depression in children (family situation, hereditary risk, etc.), depression was still twice as likely among those with brain injury or concussion.
Every concussion endured is unique based on the person and the circumstance, so symptoms (both long and short term) can vary greatly. However, if your child endures a brain injury or concussion, you may want to watch not only for physical repercussions but from emotional ones as well.
Have your children ever had a concussion? If so, did you notice any emotional changes afterwards?
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