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Signs of a Concussion in Children

Concussion symptoms can be tricky to recognize because they’re often mild and can be delayed for hours or days. Your child’s symptoms could appear in unexpected ways or your child may be too young to express the problem.

Children may take a fall on the playground or during a sports activity, feel fine, and not think to mention the incident. For all these reasons, parents need to know the symptoms of a concussion. Here’s what THINK Neurology for Kids wants you to know.

Concussions are traumatic brain injuries

Even if your child has a mild concussion with few symptoms, it’s important to remember that they still suffered a traumatic brain injury. Whether they fell on the playground or took a blow to the head during an athletic activity, the impact forced their brain to bounce back and forth inside their skull.

As the brain bounces against the skull, nerves are damaged and chemical changes occur in the brain. For a time, their brain doesn’t function normally. And until the brain heals, it’s more vulnerable to damage from a slight injury.

Three top concussion symptoms in children

Your child may have physical symptoms with a concussion, as well as changes in their thinking and brain processing abilities. It’s also common to see a change in your child’s sleep habits.

They may sleep more, less, or have a hard time falling asleep. Getting extra sleep isn’t usually a problem because they need the rest to give their brain time to heal. But if their sleeping seems excessive, call so we can help you decide if your child needs medical attention.

The three most common concussion symptoms in children are:

Headaches

Mild to severe headaches are the most common symptom of a concussion in children. Some children may feel pressure instead of headache pain.

Confusion

Your child may seem mildly dazed or outright confused. Their confusion often becomes more obvious if they try to do schoolwork. For example, they may forget instructions, struggle to answer questions, or be slow to respond.

Memory problems

When memory problems develop, children typically have a hard time remembering what happened right before the injury that caused their concussion. Parents should watch for ongoing signs of memory loss and contact us if the problem persists or gets worse.

Other common concussion symptoms

Children may also experience symptoms such as:

Your child may say they just don’t feel great without being able to label specific problems. Or they may become lethargic and lose interest in playing or getting involved in activities.

Changes in mood, emotions, and behaviors after a concussion

Children often become more emotional or develop behavioral problems after they have a concussion. You may notice symptoms such as:

Emotional and behavioral issues can arise for a multitude of reasons, ranging from temporary changes in the brain’s biochemistry to a psychological response to their injury. 

Normal concussion symptoms may be the source of your child’s anxiety. For example, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, or sensitivity to noise can all cause anxiety. And emotional challenges often lead to behavioral problems. 

Concussion symptoms in children with other conditions

Children diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD, ADD, learning disabilities, visual disorders, developmental disorders, and mental health conditions may have more severe concussion symptoms. Additionally, a concussion can worsen the symptoms of their co-existing condition.

We perform thorough concussion evaluations, support your child’s full recovery, and help parents navigate the worries of lingering concussion problems

Any time your child suffers a head injury, they should be evaluated for potential problems even if their symptoms are mild. Call one of the offices in The Woodlands, Katy, and Cypress, Texas, or request an appointment online today.

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