Concussion Care Instructions
Concussion: After Your Child's Visit
Your Care Instructions
A concussion is a kind of injury to the brain. It happens when the head receives a hard blow. The impact can jar or shake the brain against the skull. This interrupts the brain's normal activities. Although your child may have cuts or bruises on the head or face, he or she may have no other visible signs of a brain injury. In most cases, damage to the brain from a concussion can't be seen in tests such as a CT or MRI scan.
For a few weeks, your child may have low energy, dizziness, trouble sleeping, a headache, ringing in the ears, or nausea. Your child may also feel anxious, grumpy, or depressed. He or she may have problems with memory and concentration. These symptoms are common after a concussion. They should slowly improve over time. Sometimes this takes weeks or even months.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you care for your child at home?
How should your child return to play?
Your child's return to sports should be gradual. It should only begin when all symptoms of a concussion are gone.
Doctors and concussion specialists suggest steps to follow for returning to sports after a concussion. Use these steps as a guide. Your doctor must always make the final decision about whether your child is ready to go back to full-contact play. Your child should slowly progress through the following levels of activity:
Watch and keep track of your child's progress. It should take at least 6 days for your child to go from light activity to normal game play.
Make sure that your child can stay at each new level of activity for at least 24 hours without symptoms, or as long as your doctor says, before doing more. If one or more symptoms come back, have your child return to a lower level of activity for at least 24 hours. He or she should not move on until all symptoms are gone.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if: