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The Causes and Complications Associated with Pediatric Concussions

The Causes and Complications Associated with Pediatric ConcussionsWhen it comes to children playing, it’s no surprise that they get hurt from time to time. What may be surprising is how severe a lot of those injuries are. Breaking bones, spraining ligaments, and getting deep cuts that require stitches are often what’s thought about when it comes to pretty serious injuries on children.

However, research published in JAMA Pediatric reported that from 2005 to 2009, children alone made up over 2 million doctor visits and 3 million emergency department visits for mild traumatic brain injuries, also known as concussions. It’s also reported that both short-term and long-term effects of pediatric concussions influence a child’s physical, cognitive, and psychological function.

How do children get concussions?

Concussions happen when there’s a big blow directly to the head or when something causes the head to quickly move back and forth. While it may seem like avoiding a serious head injury can be easy, something as simple as typical play can ultimately lead to a concussion. Here are some ways concussions can happen:

Sports account for some of the highest pediatric concussion-causing rates in the United States. Despite implementing safety measures, like helmets and other protective gear, it’s clear that children can still get hurt relatively easily. On the other hand, children could have been playing recreationally, without a coach or any parental supervision, when these injuries occurred. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study which found that sports, like football, basketball, and soccer, accounted for about 45% of all mild traumatic brain injury-related emergency room visits. Concussions were also highest in male children from ages 10-14 and 15-17.

Other research published by  the National Library of Medicine states that while football causes the highest rate of athletics-related concussions in boys, soccer causes the most for girls—and girls suffer from twice as many concussions than boys in soccer. It’s also suggested that having a larger head-to-body ratio, thinner skull, and weaker neck muscles could suggest why younger children, and girls especially, could be more at risk of sustaining a concussion.

Even something as simple as a fall can cause a head injury in anyone—but sometimes the way kids run and play around in a jungle gym can lead to an accident. Kids tend to be a little more adventurous and carefree, which means they typically run faster, climb higher, and take more risks without realizing they could be dangerous. All of this makes it understandable how the CDC reported that playground activities were responsible for the highest number of concussion-related emergency room visits after sports.

Are there complications from concussions?

Sometimes concussions can have both short-lasting and long-lasting effects. Healing from a concussion is typically simple; and resting from both physical and cognitive activity for a few days or weeks is usually all it takes. No sports, no school—just rest. However, there are consequences when it comes to brain injuries. Studies have shown that there are quite a few different types of complications that can come after suffering from a concussion, even if no other side effects were experienced immediately. Some of these are listed below:

Short-term effects of concussions

After immediately sustaining a concussion, any one of, or a combination of, the following symptoms can be experienced:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Body convulsions
  • Difficulty thinking or understanding
  • Lack of concentration
  • Trouble communicating
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of balance
  • Vision problems
  • Changes in perception
  • Drastic mood changes

With all of these potential side effects, no wonder doctors’ orders are to limit both physical and mental activity. These short-term symptoms will last only a few days or weeks in mild cases, but it’s important to get enough rest so the brain has time to fully recover.

Long-term effects of concussions

When symptoms appear and stay for months or years after a concussion, then some of the following long-term effects can be experienced:

  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Seizures
  • Depression

The CDC reports that even if a person survived a moderate or severe concussion, that head injury is estimated to have taken nine years off of their life, and they’re 50 times more likely to die from a seizure.

When it comes to children, any severity of concussion can change the course of their life. A brain injury like this can disrupt their development by altering their health, the way they think, and their behavior. The CDC also found that over 61% of children who experienced a moderate-to-severe concussion will also experience a disability, compared to the 14% who experience a mild traumatic brain injury. Disabilities can be taxing, whether it’s mentally or physically as they can affect learning, self-regulation, and socialization.

The study also proved that any severity of concussion negatively affects a child’s life and future, showing poor grades and the need for educational support. While it’s not entirely known yet how children who’ve experienced a concussion are impacted as adults, it was revealed that their career outcomes are of lower quality than others who have not experienced concussions.

What’s being done to prevent pediatric concussions in Chattanooga?

Like it was mentioned earlier, it’s not always easy to prevent concussions from happening with children and sports being so unpredictable. The most that can be done is making sure they’re as protected as possible and advocating for their health if something happens. In fact, Tennessee was the 44th state to pass a sports concussion law for coaches and athletes in 2013 to create awareness around traumatic brain injuries and reduce the amount of children getting them.

The law requires coaches, athletes, and the athletes’ parents to sign a document with concussion information before starting a season, and requires coaches to remove the athlete from the field if a suspected concussion has occurred. They’re also not allowed to play or even practice again until they’re cleared by a medical professional.

If you or someone you know was injured and experienced a traumatic brain injury, then it is your right to seek out compensation for your pain and suffering. We understand the stress you and your family are going through, and we will work diligently to ensure that you have restitution and justice. Do not hesitate to call our Chattanooga injury lawyers today for help. To schedule a free consultation, call Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law today at 423-756-7923, or complete our contact form. We serve injured clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, and North Georgia.