NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Children suffering concussions are a big problem, especially with football and soccer season here.
Two million children will go to the emergency room for sports-related concussions this year as millions more will suffer outside a doctor’s office.
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported parents who are dealing with a child’s concussion may actually be making matters worse because many of these children whose symptoms persist may not be getting the best care.
Kennedy Dierk played soccer for 10 years without any serious injuries until he bumped heads with another player and got a concussion, although her symptoms didn’t appear right away.
“It just progressively got worse and worse and worse throughout the week,” Kennedy said.
“It was a longer road back than we thought,” Dione Dierk, Kennedy’s mom, said. “It was a good two to three months before the headache dissipated.”
Kennedy developed post-concussion syndrome, something Dr. Christopher Giza said can happen when the right steps aren’t taken immediately after a concussion.
“Getting proper advice about how to manage your activity early on reduces the likelihood by 15 to 20 percent of whether or not you develop post-concussion syndrome,” Giza, of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program, said.
However, a new national survey by UCLA Health revealed many parents don’t always follow professional advice.
If a child shows symptoms of a concussion after one week, more than three in four parents said they’re likely to wake their child up throughout the night, which is not a good idea.
“Their headache is going to be worse, their memory’s going to be worse, their mood’s going to be worse,” Giza explained. “All those things that we monitor for concussion will get worse if we don’t let them sleep.”
The survey also found 84 percent of parents would make kids refrain from any physical activity, but Giza said if the injury is stable and the activity is safe, kids should exercise after the first few days.
They should also remain social as more than half of parents were likely to take away electronic devices, but that’s not always necessary.
“We want to see them interact with their peers as much as they can, and so that may require some permissiveness in terms of electronic communication,” Giza said.
The sooner kids can focus on their lives and less on their symptoms, the faster they can heal, but if physical activity, computers, school or socializing makes a child’s symptoms worse, that’s a sign to ease up.
Every concussion is different, so allows follow a doctor’s advice.