Concussions

Also known as: traumatic brain injury, TBI, mild traumatic brain injury, mild TBI

What are concussions?

Concussion is the temporary abnormality in the way the brain works (with or without a brief loss of consciousness) that occurs after a traumatic jolting of the brain following a blow, bump or shaking of the head (injury). Children have head injuries while playing sports, and after falls, car, and bicycle accidents. Concussion is the least damaging form of head injury and most children will recover completely though it can sometimes take many weeks.
 

What causes concussions?

The brain is a soft organ (with some firmer and some softer parts) surrounded by fluid (protecting and preventing the brain from moving too much) within the hard shell of the bony skull. In the young child (and even in adolescents) the head is relatively larger compared to the rest of the body When the head is suddenly hit (or shaken violently) the brain moves or shifts in the skull (some parts moving faster than others) and, can bang against the front or sides of the boneyard skull. This causes brain damage (shearing) as the different brain tissues move, plus bruising of the brain can occur as it collides with the bone of the skull. Repeat concussions cause cumulative damage to the brain.
 

What are the symptoms of concussions?

A concussion is diagnosed by the symptoms that occur, usually immediately but can occur hours or even days later. In older children, these commonly include nausea, headache, dizziness, confusion, lose consciousness, slurred speech, fatigue, and exhibit a variety of other symptoms related to being dazed, "out of it", like difficulty concentrating or thinking. Babies may not move as much, refuse to eat, be floppy or cry more than usual.
 

What are concussion care options?

Physical and mental rest until all symptoms have disappeared is the primary treatment for a concussion. This not only involves avoiding physical exertion, but also activities that are mentally taxing or otherwise stressful. Medication may also be helpful for alleviating particular symptoms.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 9:33:35 AM


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From the Newsdesk

Get your FREE Water Watcher Card here!
06/29/2018 — Prevent drowning and accidents when children are near water by assigning a responsible adult to wear a Water Watcher Badge. The badge wearer takes responsibility to supervise the children until hading off to the next water watcher. Available at selected urgent care centers while supplies last.
Daniella Celebrates her Ninth Birthday by Advocating for Children’s Health
06/26/2018 — On this very same day nine years ago, Daniella Alvarez was diagnosed Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT), a rare and aggressive type of brain cancer. The news came on June 26, 2009, her second birthday. Daniella endured years of brain surgeries, aggressive chemotherapies, radiation, imaging scans, multiple visits to intensive care at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. She is now cancer free thanks to a pediatric clinical trial made possible through research funding.

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Dr. Monica Payares-Lizano. MD talks about the orthopedic care offered at Nicklaus Children's Hospital for pediatric musculoskeletal injuries.