Keep Your Head in the Game This Summer

Tips to prevent concussions and other head injuries this summer

(RxWiki News) Concussions don't just happen to football players. In fact, these brain injuries can happen while riding a bicycle, in the home or on the playground. Read on to learn how to stay safe this summer.

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that typically happens when a blow to the head or body causes the head and brain to move back and forth. A concussion can affect how the brain works for a short time. Concussion symptoms include headache, neck pain, nausea, ringing in the ears, dizziness, feeling dazed, feeling tired, and issues with coordination or balance. In some cases, concussions may cause seizures.

Many people believe you have to lose consciousness to have a concussion. Although loss of consciousness happens with concussions in some cases, not all concussions cause you to lose consciousness.

Symptoms of a concussion typically resolve within 7 to 10 days. But a single concussion can raise your risk of having another concussion later on, so preventing concussions this summer and all year long becomes very important.

Preventing concussions:

  • Wear helmets during activities.
  • Wear proper headgear during sports.

Although there is no concussion-proof helmet, a helmet can help protect your child from having a serious brain or head injury.

The first step is making sure your child's helmet is appropriate for the sport. For example, wear a batter's helmet when batting. Also, it is important that the helmet fits properly, is well-maintained, is appropriate for your child's age and is certified using Snell helmet safety standards lists. In addition, make sure your child wears the helmet correctly at all times.

Other ways to prevent concussions include the following:

  • Remove tripping hazards, such as electrical cords and throw rugs, in living areas to prevent falls.
  • Install handrails for the elderly.

To prevent concussions and ensure the best outcome for athletes:

  • Check with your league, school or district about concussion policies.
  • Educate athletes and parents or coaches about concussions.
  • An athlete should not finish the game if he or she has a concussion.
  • Athletes with concussions should not return to playing sports until a doctor clears them to do so.

If you suspect a concussion:

  • Remove your child from the game or activity. When in doubt, sit them out. Having your child continue playing can be more dangerous and lead to a greater chance of having a second — and more serious — concussion.
  • Seek medical attention from a health care provider. Do not try to assess the injury yourself. The health care provider will perform exams, such as a neurological exam that checks vision, balance, coordination and reflexes. Following the neurological exam, some patients may need to undergo a CT scan of the brain.

What comes after a concussion?

Healing will take time and rest. Your doctor will let you know when your child can return to daily activities like work or school. It is better to return to normal activities slowly — not all at once.

Your doctor will also tell you when your child can start playing sports or engaging in recreational activities again.