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Is it a Bump on the Head or Something More Serious?

The importance of physical activity for children is widely known. Participating in sports is a good way for children to channel their energy, have fun, and have a sense of accomplishment. Injuries, though, are part of the game. More than 2.6 million children suffer injuries each year while involved with sports and recreational activities.

Concussion awareness is on the rise due to high-profile injuries in professional sports. It can be difficult, however, to know when a concussion has occurred in a child, particularly given the wide range of symptoms. At the practice of Smita Tandon, MD, in Fountain Valley, California, Dr. Tandon and Angeli Suarez, MD, treat all kinds of injuries that happen to children. In this blog, they discuss head injuries and when they may be serious.

Recognizing head injuries

Children are resilient, and most sports injuries ― even head injuries ― are usually minor. However, a concussion can temporarily change the way your child’s brain works and may present some health risks. Head injuries require time to heal, and the first challenge is often knowing when a head injury has occurred.

If you witness an injury that involves contact with the head, neck, or upper body, it may be an easy decision to seek medical care. If you didn’t observe the injury, however, you should watch for signs of concussion, such as the following:

If your child displays one or more of these symptoms after participating in a sport, you should Contact Dr. Tandon right away.

Potential complications

Adequate recovery time must follow a head injury, even though it may be difficult to determine how much time is enough. Your best guideline is the phrase, “When in doubt, sit it out.” If your child has suffered from a concussion, they should rest from both physical and mental activities for at least a day or two. 

When Dr. Tandon says it’s OK to return to activities, make sure the return is gradual. If they go to school, make it a half-day, and if they play sports, let them go to practice, but don’t let them play in a regular competition right away. Dr. Tandon will give you guidance on when they can go all-out again. Returning to full activity too soon can increase the chances of reinjury or possible permanent damage.

Sports physicals and protective gear

Dr. Tandon recommends that all children receive a sports physical before starting a new activity. This gives Dr. Tandon a chance to assess your child’s ability to handle the physical demands of a sport before an injury has a chance to occur. 

She also advises that children be properly fitted with protective gear to reduce the chances of injury. And check for fit and function frequently, since your child’s growth may affect how well their protective equipment functions.

To learn more about recognizing the signs of injury, or to learn more ways of preventing your child from getting injured, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Smita Tandon, MD, today.

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