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They Say – Parents Should Take Concussions Seriously

124548696_f30d8ddb31Parents should not shrug off a concussion, says a new report in Pediatrics, which also found that kids with concussions may not be getting proper care.

“The term concussion is used frequently, but there are no real guidelines in using it with children,” lead researchers Dr. Carol DeMatteo told HealthDay. “This means that many different types of injury of different severity can be called a concussion. This leads to misconceptions by families and coaches and teachers and children themselves.”

Symptoms of a concussion include unusual fatigue, headache, sleep disturbances, memory problems, or mood changes, according to HealthDay.

Researchers looked at medical records for 434 children seen at one hospital for brain injury, and third of the group were diagnosed with concussions. The report found that when kids are diagnosed with a concussion, they leave the hospital sooner and are less likely to take time off school or sports, even though their injuries were sometimes as severe as children who’d been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.

“Our study suggests that if a child is given a diagnosis of a concussion, the family is less likely to consider it an actual injury to the brain,” DeMatteo said in a news release, reports Lubbock Online. “These children may be sent back to school or allowed to return to activity sooner, and maybe sooner than they should. This puts them at greater risk for a second injury, poor school performance, and wondering what is wrong with them.”

The solution, says experts, is to start labeling concussions as “mild traumatic brain injury.” These kinds of injuries are cumulative, they say, and kids who are injured this way are at a higher risk of another brain injury within a year.

For more information on concussions/mild traumatic brain injury, visit KidsHealth.org. And if you’re not sure how to know when to take your child to the doctor after a head bump, Dr. Sears has some tips.

Photo: Andrew Ciscel, Flickr

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