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Every year, doctors diagnose more than a million concussion cases in the United States. Those most likely to suffer such a brain injury include adolescents ages 15 to 19. Many of those injuries result from sports activities.

No matter what sport your child plays, you can help protect him or her from serious brain injury.

Recognize the signs of a concussion early and take steps to prevent one in the first place.

Brain Injury Basics

A concussion is a type of brain injury caused by a blow to the head, which can result in a temporary loss of normal brain function. A person who experiences a concussion may not necessarily lose consciousness.

If your child suffers a blow to the head, watch for the following symptoms, which can appear immediately, or days or weeks later:

  • Headache
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness or loss of balance
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion, memory loss or difficulty concentrating
  • Sensitivity to light or noise

In younger children, you may notice irritability, sleepiness or crankiness. Your child may also exhibit changes in eating, sleeping and school performance, or lose interest in favorite activities.

A Brain-Saving Game Plan

If you suspect your child may have suffered a concussion, talk with your child’s doctor right away. A thorough medical exam can determine if your young athlete has a brain injury. The primary treatment for a concussion is rest, so don’t let your child be overly active until his or her doctor says it’s OK. Your child may need several days, weeks, or even months to completely recover.

Prevention is the best concussion game plan. In addition to knowing the signs of a concussion, always make sure your child wears a helmet and other protective equipment if the sport activity requires it. The gear should be in good shape and fit well.

Learn more about concussion care at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute at LifeBridge Health.

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore’s premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

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