The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Concussions are a concern and are taken serious

 

September 5, 2018

The Big Sandy EMT's got some practice on how to care for a concussion patient.

Speaking from experience. This winter I fell hard on some ice and landed on my head. Embarrassed I crawled to the nearest bench. Amy Sibra saw me fall and came over to me and gently insisted I go to the doctor. I refused at first but she persisted and I realized she was probably right. I was quite dizzy and my hearing seemed altered.

At the Big Sandy Clinic, I discovered because I fell so hard and that I was of a certain age, I had earned a trip to Northern Montana Hospital for a MRI. After returning to Big Sandy clinic, Krystle Kulbeck informed me I had a concussion. She told me to stay home from work for a few days, not to use a computer, or watch TV. I needed to give my mind a rest. I didn't really believe her, and only stayed home for one day, but for months the same cloudiness followed me. I struggled to find words, just common words, I wanted to express. I tired easily and lived with headaches. I was often confused and couldn't understand simple directions, needing them to be repeated. This went on for months, and I was getting a little worried until Krystle told me it was common for a concussion patient, and that I had not given myself enough time to heal.

Concussions are often ignored, but not at Big Sandy High School. Every Coach, including assistants and volunteers are required to completed concussion protocol education. Football has changed many of their rules over the years to prevent head injuries and Coach Terry believes that safety of his players is the most important objective. The parents of every Big Sandy High School athlete have been given information of what to watch for in case of a head injury.

However, we do have soccer starting up also and little kids can get concussions too. It is important that everyone understands what happens to the brain when it is hit hard and the dangers of ignoring the symptoms of a concussion. Once you have had one concussion it is easier to get another and the risks increase.

Even the Big Sandy EMT crew practiced what to do in case of a head injury which might happen during sports-related events. Most are mild and only temporarily interfere with the way the brain works. However, concussions in children can pose serious health risks.

Head injuries take time to heal and hurrying back to normal activities will mean it takes longer to heal. Children should rest from both physical and mental (cognitive) activities for a day or two after a concussion and only return to activities gradually as their symptoms allow them too.

According to Sherilynn Driscoll, M. D. Mayo Clinic, "Children who return to school after a concussion may require some classroom adjustments, including a lighter course load or a shortened school day. If an activity such as reading or jogging causes symptoms, such as headache, the child should take a break, then resume the activity for shorter periods and gradually work up to pre-concussion levels as symptoms improve. Children can develop complications if they return to sports and other activities before a concussion has healed. Another blow to the head while the initial concussion is healing can result in longer lasting symptoms or more-permanent damage. Follow the rule of thumb "If in doubt, sit it out." If there's any suspicion of a concussion, it's best not to return to play until symptoms improve."

Concussion symptoms can include:

• Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head

• Nausea or vomiting

• Balance problems or dizziness

• Double or blurry vision

• Sensitivity to light or noise

• Feeling sluggish, groggy or dazed

• Difficulty paying attention

• Memory problems

• Confusion

• Slowness in understanding and responding to others

• Sleeping problems

• Mood changes

• Changes in behavior

• Changes in personality

Experts after studying research on the potential of long-term effects of concussions believe that children after having one concussion are at higher risk of having another. Repeat concussions can multiply with sever symptoms. Parents need to insist that children wear protective head gear. However, even the best protective equipment can't prevent all concussions.

You don't need to lose consciousness to have a concussion. Also, a hard blow to the body can jars the head enough that it can result in a concussion. You need to be in communication with your child's coach and let them know how your child is feeling. If you child as any of the symptoms she or he will need to see a medical provider.

Dr. Driscoll said, "If you think your child has a concussion, seek immediate medical help. Your child's doctor will determine how serious the concussion is and when it's safe for your child to return to sports, school or other activities."

 
 

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