Head Injuries

Now that the school sports seasons are in full swing, we would like to say a few words about head injuries and concussions in young athletes.

A concussion is a disturbance in brain function caused by either a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an impulsive force transmitted to the head. It results in the rapid onset of a variety of non-specific symptoms which tend to resolve spontaneously. These acute clinical symptoms of a concussion usually reflect a functional disturbance, not a structural injury of the brain. A concussion does NOT always involve the loss of consciousness. No abnormality on standard imaging studies (such as a head CT scan) is seen with a concussion.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion, many of which overlap, fall into four categories: physical, cognitive, emotional and sleep. Headache is the most frequently reported symptom of a concussion. Other symptoms may include nausea/vomiting, dizziness, visual changes, balance problems, sensitivity to light/noise, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, fatigue or low energy, confusion, drowsiness, trouble falling asleep, irritability, sadness, nervous or anxious, more emotional, feeling slowed down or feeling like the person is “in a fog.”  A concussion should be suspected in the presence of any one or more of the following:

  • Symptoms (such as headache), or
  • Physical signs (such as unsteadiness), or
  • Impaired brain function (ie. confusion), or
  • Abnormal behavior

Young athletes whose brains are still developing may be more susceptible to the effects of a concussion. It is important for parents, coaches and young athletes to realize that youth is not a period of indestructibility and the “tough it out” mentality after a head injury is no longer acceptable.  Any child who sustains a head injury and with a  suspected concussion should be REMOVED FROM PLAY, evaluated by a health care professional, monitored for deterioration (ie. should not be left alone) and should receive medical clearance before returning to play. All atheletes who suffer from a concussion should be restricted from physical activity until they are asymptomatic at rest and with exertion. Even if young athletes are asymptomatic after a head injury, they should NOT be allowed to return to play on the same day of a concussion. It is known that athletes who sustain multiple concussions are more likely to suffer from severe symptoms and may be required to retire from contact sports altogether.

Let us all continue to be advocates for our young athletes and help keep them safe both on and off the field!   Here is to a fun and healthy season!

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Office Hours
Monday-Friday: 8:30am - 12:00pm
                               1:30pm - 4:30pm
Saturday: By Appointment

Phone: (585) 256-2210
Fax: (585) 256-2775
After Hours: (585) 453-2255

Pathway Pediatrics, LLC
Westfall Medical Park
2225 South Clinton Avenue, Suite 1A
Rochester, NY 14618
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