Repeated concussions in children can affect their daily activities, and if they aren't treated correctly can cause serious damage.
Angelo Neumann loves sports, but the 9-year-old can’t afford to get hit in the head again. He’s already had four concussions, an injury that shakes the brain around inside the skull.
“We were playing baseball," Angelo said. "The ball hit my head, and it hurt really bad.”
Angelo isn't alone. There are nearly 4 million concussions every year in the U.S.
“It really affected his home life," Mark Neumann, Angelo’s father, said. "Just the simple things like watching TV or video games gave him headaches. At school, we had to be extra cautious at recess and P.E.”
John Forrest Bennet, MN, ARNP, cares for Angelo at the concussion clinic at Seattle Children’s hospital. If you suspect a child has a concussion he said have them stop what they are doing and get evaluated.
“You want to understand do they have headaches? Also are those headaches activity related? Do they have nausea with vomiting or dizziness, fatigue or imbalance? Think general neurological symptoms that just aren’t right,” Bennet said.
One of the most critical parts to healing a concussion is to make sure you don’t hit your head again until you’re fully healed. In rare cases, it can cause permanent disability or death.
“The more common concern if you take a second hit when you're not fully recovered from a concussion is that it can delay recovery by days, weeks, or months,” Bennet said.
New research shows rest is the best way to heal a concussion, but not too much. That can actually delay recovery. Talk with your child’s doctor about a recovery plan.
If your child is not healing properly, your doctor can order a brain MRI and/or a neuro psych exam, which can show which part of the brain is not working. Angelo’s parents say it can be especially helpful in qualifying for additional special education services at school.