Knowing brain injury symptoms in children may prevent a misdiagnosis

Medical professionals and safety advocates believe that Chicago parents and physicians can never be too cautious when dealing with children’s head injuries. Bumps and blows to the head can bruise a child’s brain, causing a concussion. Concussions can lead to very serious brain injuries including bleeding in the brain and skull fractures.

Childhood brain injuries may cause permanent, long-term damage, especially without proper medical assessment and treatment. Concussion symptom recognition and fast action can prevent long-term effects and fatalities. It is just as important for doctors to treat suspected brain trauma in children seriously as it is for parents and coaches to recognize the symptoms of a concussion or brain injury as well.

Prevention measures are the first lines of defense against concussions. Injury prevention specialists say the correct helmet size and fit can reduce a young child’s head injury risk by nearly 85 percent.

Some states insist that children wear helmets to ride bicycles. Experts suggest expanding child helmet use to other activities like rollerblading and skateboarding. Getting parents to wear helmets, even when laws don’t require them to do so, is another simple way to promote safety.

Medical advisors suggest that when children’s head injuries do happen, coaches and parents need to be observant and act quickly. Concussions can have more subtle symptoms than a loss of consciousness. Blurred vision, disorientation, nausea and headaches can indicate a serious brain injury. These symptoms should prompt coaches, caregivers and parents to seek medical attention for a child.

Parents, caregivers and athletic coaches who are knowledgeable about concussion prevention and symptoms can press doctors to use extreme care when diagnosing and treating children’s head injuries. When parents believe a physician has not made a strong effort to diagnose or treat a child for brain injury symptoms, parents may want to consider speaking with another physician in order to get a second opinion and to avoid the risks of a possible misdiagnosis.

Once a child has had a concussion, a second head injury could cause catastrophic damage. Parents, coaches and doctors must be willing to put sports activities on hold until complete healing takes place, despite a child’s desire to return to the game.

Source: The Rhode Show, “Important facts about child head trauma,” Courtney Caligiuri, July 17, 2012

Brain Injuries


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