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Concussion Screenings Imperative for Our Kids

Wondering if you should have your kids pre-screened concussions? The answer is yes.

Last June, I attended the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual meeting in San Francisco.  While there, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, had a screening of the documentary “Big Hits, Broken Dreams” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH2KjItYXUY ).  Those in attendance had a thoughtful dialogue about the importance of proper screening before and AFTER a concussion.  It is not only middle school and high school athletes who should have annual baseline testing for concussions, but all youths who play in any sports.

We are only now putting together the pieces of the puzzle about the traumatic and cumulative effects that multiple concussions (which are considered by neurologists like Gupta, to be real head injuries and bruises) have on the brain.  I have been close to the issue after many presentations on the subject.  I was thrilled to see a good concussion policy as part of the Holmdel High School Sports Packet.

A friend’s daughter recently received a double concussion from a flying text book in the front of her head and hitting the back of her head on a locker.  She went to the ER for an assessment and was she was released with instructions to not participate in physical activity.  Not a peep about brain rest.

I felt it was important to let you know that after a concussion (or even a somewhat less severe head injury), it is imperative that the brain rests in addition to the remainder of the body.  What does brain rest entail?  No texting, nor watching movies, reading, being on the computer, listening to music… get the picture?  As passive as some of the activities above may seem, they do cause the brain to “work” and will slow down the healing process.  The risk for an adverse event, called “second impact syndrome” which occurs when there’s another injury to the brain – and it can be deadly. 

If is a good idea, to let your pediatrician know, at your well-visits, if you child has sustained any head injuries or concussions… as part of their medical record – should there be a cause for concern in the future.  All sports are at risk for concussions – not just football.  I recently took my 11 year old son for a concussion screen at DB Physical Therapy (www.concussionRxtcare.com) … perhaps you have seen articles about David Bertone’s talks at Brookdale and Marlboro Recreation recently.  The whole process took five minutes in his office and around 10-15 minutes on our home computer.  As an exercise physiologist (and mom) - I do practice what I “preach” – and cannot say enough about it being better to be safe than sorry. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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