Risk Factors for a Child Suffering a Concussion
Children under the age of 15 are at the highest risk of suffering a concussion than any other age group. This is obviously due to the activities that they engage in. Young boys are at a greater risk than young girls for the same reason. They are more likely to take risks such as climbing trees, roughhousing, playing rough sports, skateboarding and other potentially injurious activities. Most concussions received by children are not serious and symptom other than a short-lived bump, bruise or short term headache are all that ever occurs. However, some concussions may lead to complications.
The frontal lobe is particularly susceptible to the effects of brain trauma. This results in deficits in cognitive functioning. Executive functioning covers basic cognitive processes such as control of attention, inhibition of thoughts and behaviors, working memory, and cognitive flexibility (the ability to move between concepts or think about multiple concepts at the same time). Such a deficit in executive functioning can be a permanent impairment which affects all aspects of a child’s life.
Children at the greatest risk are those:
- Involved in a bicycle accident, car accident or pedestrian accident.
- Who fall from elevations like trees, ladders, roofs or playground equipment.
- Who are victims of physical abuse by parents, siblings, sitters or even companions.
- Who have experienced a previous concussion.
Contact Sports are a Concussion Risk for Children
Participating in contact sports such as football, soccer, rugby, boxing and other. The risk increases greatly if there is a lack of proper safety equipment. Early detection is essential for all youth programs and schools should have people on the sidelines who can identify whenever anyone may have even possibly suffered a concussion.
After any type of bump to the head, a player should be immediately pulled from the game and tested for any degree of brain injury. In addition, young players should not be encouraged or allowed to keep playing if they have suffered concussions already.
Pool Injuries and Child Concussion Risk
Concussions can result when a person experiences trauma to the head and the brain tissue suffers damage. They can range from minor to severe traumas that result in extensive loss of consciousness, hospitalization, permanent disabilities, and more. Some reasons that swimming pool patrons and visitors suffer brain injuries are as follows:
- Slipping or tripping and falling while outside of the pool
- Diving in too-shallow water and hitting their head on the bottom of the pool
- Having slippery surfaces inside the pool that cause swimmers to slip and hit their head on the side or edge of the pool.
Poor supervision and improper safety procedures are often to blame. Parents and lifeguards must insist that children follow the necessary safety procedures. Areas around a pool also must be dry and clear of debris.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is actually defined as a traumatic brain injury that alters the functioning of the brain. The effects of the injury are usually temporary but may include headaches, nausea, dizziness as well as problems with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination. A blow to the head is the most common cause, but shaking of the head and upper body can also produce a concussion. Loss of consciousness can occur but is not usual. All concussions require rest and time to heal to avoid further injury.
In young children, the symptoms of a concussion may be hard to recognize. The child may appear dazed, listless or tired, irritable or off balance. They may show a change in eating habits, sleep patterns and a loss of interest in normally favorite things. Any head injury to a young child requires a trip to the doctor as soon as possible. Traumatic brain injuries should be taken with the utmost seriousness. They can often lead to severe complication if they are not addressed promptly by a physician.
What Kind of Complications Can Occur Following a Concussion?
Although most concussions do not lead to complications, those that do can be very serious. Most of the complications of a concussion have the potential to cause permanent damage that will ruin a child’s life and cause long-term damage. In some cases, a complication of a brain injury like a concussion can even kill. Some of the complications which are the result of a concussion are:
- Epilepsy – Risk for epilepsy are doubled in those who have received a concussion, within the first five years following the injury.
- Cumulative effects from multiple injuries – Functional impairment may occur over time to those who have received multiple injuries over time studies have shown. This is evident in adults that participated in contact sports all of their lives beginning at a young age.
- Post-concussion syndrome – Some people develop symptoms from day to months after receiving a concussion. These symptoms may include dizziness, headaches, and cognitive difficulties.
- Second impact syndrome – Experiencing a second concussion before the resolution of the first concussion signs, may result in rapid brain swelling that is usually fatal. This is almost always sports related when a player is allowed back into a game prior to a concussion being healed.
What to do if a Concussion is Suspected in Your Child
If you suspect that your child has received a concussion, seek child medical attention immediately. Signs may include dizziness, nausea, headaches, and loss of consciousness. The doctor will perform neurological tests to determine the extent of the injury. Be aware that symptoms may not be present for hours or even days following the injury. All head injuries in children should be taken seriously regardless of how benign they may appear.
If your child received a head injury at school while playing sanctioned sports, on playground equipment or from an accident involving a negligent party or entity contact an experienced brain injury attorney to explore your options. There may be compensation available for your child’s injuries. At Dolman Law Group, we take children’s injuries seriously and will bring accountability to anyone responsible. Contact us today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765