Parents’ approach to concussions outdated and dangerous, study says
"Many parents believed they might overlook swelling of the brain if they allowed their child to go to sleep with a concussion.”
According to a recent study conducted by UCLA Health, many parents’ response to their children getting concussions are outdated and may even lead to more health risks.
"This survey really illustrates just how far the pendulum has swung in terms of caring for children with concussions," said Dr. Christopher Giza, a pediatric neurologist and director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program.
"In the past, there was often a tendency to downplay the significance of concussions. Now some parents go too far the other direction and, despite their best intentions, they can inadvertently complicate their child's recovery.”
Gathering data from 569 parents nationwide, the study asked the participants how they would care for their child if they suffered from a concussion that lasted for more than a week.
According to the study, 77% of parents said they would likely wake their child up throughout the night to check on them.
"Many parents believed they might overlook swelling of the brain if they allowed their child to go to sleep with a concussion," Dr.Giza said.
"We certainly want a doctor to evaluate the child immediately after injury, but if you're still waking a child up throughout the night more than a week later, you're doing more harm than good."
This is because the things doctor evaluate to measure recovery from concussion (such as mood, memory and energy level) are altered when a child is awakened every few hours.
"Once a professional has diagnosed your child and determined that there is no further risk, let them sleep," he added. "In fact, we encourage sleep very early on because that will help the brain heal faster."
Another thing that parents do that is counterproductive is stopping their children from any sort of physical activity.
While doctors don’t encourage them to play contact sports immediately, mild aerobic exercise like walking the dog or riding a stationary bicycle is actually good for them.
It improves their mood and restores a sense of normalcy.
"The idea is to give them that initial rest and protect them from contact risk, but then start easing them back into intellectual, physical and social activity," Dr. Giza said. "Those things are all important in the healing process and shouldn't be overlooked."
Learn more about concussions on the next page!
What is a concussion?
According to WebMD, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull.
Although there may be cuts or bruises on the head or face, there may be no other visible signs of a brain injury.
Because the signs and symptoms of concussions isn’t always visible to the naked eye, it’s harder than most injuries to spot.
However, there are certain things you should look out for.
Symptoms of a concussion range from mild to severe and can last for hours, days, weeks, or even months. If you notice any symptoms of a concussion, contact your doctor.
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