Do You Know The Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

As our kids get back into the swing of a new school year, it’s a good time for parents to get a refresher course on child safety. This includes recognizing the signs and symptoms of sports injuries, such as concussion and traumatic brain injury.

Recent NFL concussion lawsuits highlight the serious risks posed by full-contact sports like football. But professional athletes aren’t the only ones at risk for head injury. Trauma can occur during other youth sports like baseball, wrestling, skateboarding, volleyball, soccer, basketball and even swimming.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that nearly half a million emergency room visits for head injury involve kids from infants to 14 years old. Teens aged 15 to 19 years are among the most likely populations to suffer a traumatic brain injury.  The CDC has created a training program, Heads Up,  for parents, coaches, teachers and athletes to recognize when someone may have a head injury.  Awareness is the key to saving lives!

In honor of September’s recognition as National Preparedness Month, we’re offering a list of some the signs of sports-related head trauma for child athletes.

Below are some of the most commonly reported signs of traumatic brain injury:

  • The initial point of injury – The CDC reports that parents and coaches should be alert for the occurrence of injury, such as a forceful blow to the child’s head that causes the head to move rapidly. If this occurs, parents, coaches or training staff should remove the child from play immediately and closely monitor the child for signs of injury.
  • Changes in the child’s behavior – This may include signs of confusion (examples: “Where are we?”, “What position am I supposed to be playing again?”, or “Who are we playing tonight?”). It may also include answering questions more slowly than usual, or acting sluggish and “hazy.”
  • Loss of consciousness – Even a brief loss of consciousness after the injury is cause for concern.
  • Memory problems – A child who has trouble recalling any event directly before or after the injury may have suffered a concussion.
  • Vomiting – A child who reports feeling sick to his or her stomach or who experiences nausea may have sustained a concussion.
  • Sensitivity to noise and sound – Your child may mention feeling irritated by bright lights or loud noises if he or she has suffered a head injury. Watch for things like squinting, covering the ears or shielding the eyes.
  • Vision problems – A child with a concussion or traumatic brain injury may talk about having double vision or other unusual vision problems.
  • Pain – A serious head injury can cause a severe headache and even pain in the neck.
  • Physical signs of injury – This includes blood or clear fluids coming from the nose or ears, bruising or swelling of the head and pupils that are uneven in size.
  • Slurred speech – Listen for changes in your child’s speech patterns — this may be a sign of serious trauma.
  • Convulsions or tremors – A severe head injury may result in seizures or other involuntary movements.

Unfortunately, not all concussions are immediately recognizable. The signs and symptoms may not manifest until several days after the point of injury. If your child exhibits any signs of concussion, immediately remove him or her from play and seek prompt medical attention.

If your child suffered a serious head injury while playing sports and a trainer failed to recognize the signs and/or a coach allowed the child to continue to play, you may have grounds for an injury claim. Contact Chalik & Chalik to learn about your family’s rights. Call 855-529-0269 or contact us online.