Your Teen And Concussions: How To Help Your Young Athlete Heal

Posted on: 23 September 2015


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009 nearly 250,000 adolescents and children visited the emergency room after a sports-related head injury. If your teenager is an athlete, one of the your biggest concerns as a parent is probably the risk of a concussion. To ensure your teenager receives the care they need, it is vital to educate yourself about the symptoms and risks associated with concussions:

What Are the Symptoms of a Concussion in Teens?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a concussion is a serious brain injury that can be caused by a blow to the head or if an individual is violently shaken. If your teen was playing sports and suffered a severe blow to the head, it's vital to watch them closely for 24 to 72 hours. Watch out for any of the following symptoms commonly associated with a concussion:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory issues
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in mood
  • Problems sleeping
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Numbness

If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms, it is vital to contact your physician promptly. Sometimes, the symptoms of concussion won't manifest until several hours after the injury occurred.

However, if your teenager is suffering from a severe headache, is continuously vomiting, has blood oozing from their nose or ears or suffers a convulsion or seizure, don't wait and, instead, call for an ambulance immediately.

Caring For A Teen Who Has Suffered a Concussion

If your teen was diagnosed with a concussion, it can take several days, weeks or even months for them to heal fully. During this time, it is vital they don't play any type of contact sport, or they could run the risk of suffering from a condition called second impact syndrome.

A minor blow to your teen's head could result in second impact syndrome, which is characterized by brain swelling. In severe cases, the swelling can lead to permanent damage or death.

In addition to keeping your teen on a sidelines, it's also vital they rest their body and mind – especially during the first few days after the concussion occurred.

Your doctor may recommend you take the following steps to ensure your teen's body and mind heal properly:

  • Contact your teen's teachers, employer and coaches and work together to help prevent any further injuries. For example, ask your teen's teachers to keep the lights dim in class or lighten their school load for a few weeks. Your doctor might also recommend your teen avoid school or only attend part-time for the first few days after the injury occurred.

  • Help your teen avoid any activities that are too mentally stimulating – including video games, television, bright lights, driving and loud noises.

  • Insist your teenager avoid any other activities that are too physically demanding, including exercising.

As your teenager heals and begins to feel better, it's alright to allow them to begin enjoying their favorite activities – including returning to school full-time. When it comes to returning to sports, however, it is important that all symptoms of the concussion are completely gone beforehand.

If you're not sure whether your anxious teen can get back on the field or court, work with their doctor or physiotherapist to determine when it is safe for them to play sports again.

The risk of concussion while playing sports is a real concern and should be taken very seriously. As a parent, it is vital to learn as much as you can about concussions, especially what to watch for if you suspect your teen has suffered a severe brain injury and how to care for them after a concussion to ensure they recover quickly and fully. For more information, contact a local sports injury clinic like Coronation Physiotherapy