What Should You Do if Your Child Has a Concussion?
Seek medical attention right away. A health professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports.
Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your child to return to play until a health care professional says it’s okay. Children who return to play too soon before they have fully recovered are at risk for permanent damage and even death. When in doubt, sit them out!
What is Return to Learn?
Following a concussion, student athletes may have difficulties with short- and long-term memory, concentration and organization. They will require rest while recovering from injury (e.g., avoid reading, texting, video games, loud movies), and may even need to stay home from school for a few days. As they return to school, the schedule might need to start with a few classes or a half-day depending on how they feel. Your school or doctor can help suggest and make these changes. They may also benefit from a formal assessment for limited attendance or homework such as reduced class schedule if recovery from a concussion is taking longer than expected.
How is Return to Play (RTP) Determined?
Concussion symptoms should be completely gone before returning to competition. RTP involves a gradual, stepwise increase in physical effort, and sports-specific activities that is managed by a physician. If symptoms occur with activity, the progression should be stopped. RTP after concussion should occur only with medical clearance from a medical doctor trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. [AB 2127, a California state law that became effective 1/1/15, states that return to play (i.e., full competition) must be no sooner than 7 days after the concussion diagnosis has been made by a physician.]
How can I prevent my child from getting a concussion?
Every sport is different, but there are steps your child can take to prevent a concussion. Ensure they follow the coach’s safety rules and rule of the sport. Encourage your child to practice good sportsmanship. Make sure they wear the correct and well fitting protective equipment (such as helmets, padding, shin guards, knee pads, and eye and mouth guards). For more information please see: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/youth.html