It’s back-to-school time. For many kids, that also means back to a variety of sporting activities. But before your child takes to the field, keep in mind the potential injuries – especially concussions. Dr. Subramani Seetharma is the medical director for the Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network Concussion Clinic.
Q: What is a concussion?
A: A concussion is a mild form of a traumatic brain injury. The effects of a concussion can be serious. Symptoms include the following:
- Dazed or confused after your injury
- Lost consciousness (knocked out)
- Can’t remember what happened for a short time before or after your injury
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stumbling or clumsiness
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Unusual drowsiness
- Slurred speech
Q: What causes a concussion?
A: Concussions are caused by a direct blow or sudden jolt to the head, face or neck. This could result from a fall, a tackle in a contact sport, assault, vehicle accident, walking or running into an obstacle, skateboarding, snowboarding, or an explosion.
Q: When should you take a child out of a game if you think he or she has had a concussion?
A: A child should be taken out of the game immediately if they have experienced a hard blow/head injury/neck injury. I always say, ‘When in doubt, take them out.’
Q: Tell us about the concussion clinic? What is offered?
A: The Concussion Clinic consists of a multi-disciplinary team approach to treating this type of condition. We have speech pathologists, physical therapists, clinical psychologists, as well as physiatry all dedicated to treating concussions. First, the child will undergo a comprehensive evaluation which includes:
- History of injury
- Checklists of physical characteristics (sleep, cognition, risk factors)
- Objective concussion test measurements
- Follow-up action plan
- Return-to-sports/play instructions
Treatment options can include a variety of tactics, and are tailored to the individual.