Our Nurse’s Corner: March is Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month

Spring is arriving soon and many children and teens will join a variety of youth sports teams. Unfortunately, a number of children will suffer some type of injury. Of those injuries, some will experience a concussion. According to the Centers for Disease Control, traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s), also called concussions, contribute to a substantial number of deaths or permanent disabilities in the United States. A concussion is caused by a bump or blow to the head and even if it seems mild it can be serious.

Symptoms of a concussion may not show up until days or weeks after the injury. If your child has experienced a bump or blow to the head, here are some symptoms to look out for:
• Appears dazed or stunned
• Is confused about assignment or position
• Forgets an instruction
• Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions slowly
• Loses consciousness (even briefly)
• Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes

Or your child may complain of
• Headache or “pressure” in head
• Nausea or vomiting
• Balance problems or dizziness
• Double or blurry vision
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
• Concentration or memory problems
• Confusion
• Just “not feeling right” or “feeling down”

One way to help your child prevent a concussion is to make sure he/she wears the right protective gear for the sport, such as a helmet and to ensure he/she follows their coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
If you think your child has a concussion, seek medical attention right away and do not let your child return to play sports until a health care professional says it’s okay. While the brain is healing, there is a greater chance of having a repeat concussion, which can be very serious and possibly cause permanent brain damage.

If you would like more information on this topic, please visit:  www.cdc.gov/concussion

Article by Dagmar Paul, RN, MSN/District Nurse  

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