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New protocols for kids with concussions

The increase awareness of concussions and their lingering effects have been one of the major recent issues in medicine. Whether it is professional sports figures forced to follow protocols or changes in the rules for football, we see precautions all around us. This has carried over to younger children as well with parents, teachers and healthcare professionals who look after them.

The past approach for treatment of concussed children was generally strict rest in a dark room for several days. Reading and screens were frowned upon, as was physical activity and any sort of stimulation. The good news in kids' minds was that they generally have to stay home from school, but the bad news is that they really could not do anything.

A new approach to treatment

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has now updated its recommendations for treatment of mild trauma in adolescents. These include:

  • Allow the use of screens and electronics
  • Resumption of physical activity within a few days
  • Return to school more quickly

These changes actually address the needs of the children by allowing them returning to normal activities when they are able, which is considered less stressful than being forced to remain inactive. While a few days of rest are still recommended, experts have also found that recovery proceeds more quickly when the kids are active.

Common sense is still necessary

Allowing kids to return to normal activities still means that adults should pay attention. Start slow with half days of school or light activities and let the child lead the way. They should be headache free for an entire day before a full resumption of activities. Parents and caregivers should also look for signs of:

  • Moody behavior
  • Sleepiness
  • Lack of balance

Millions affected

According to NPR, 1.1 to 1.9 million children are treated each year for concussions and other brain injuries with many more incidences going unreported. Contact a doctor if there are lingering effects in the child. It may also be necessary to contact a personal injury if the injuries are life changing and caused by the negligence of others.

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