You may feel like you see concussions in the headlines every day, but surprisingly this has done little to change the widespread misunderstandings of the specific brain injury. It is still commonplace to call suffering a concussion “getting your bell rung” or to suggest that a child suffering a concussion is “normal”, but few are aware that children are at a significantly higher risk for concussions than adults or even older teenagers.
To make matters worse, children are more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury compared to adults, and their symptoms tend to be more long lasting and more severe. Frighteningly, the issue only seems to be getting worse as new estimates say that emergency room visits for children with concussions are on the rise.
Matthew Grady, MD, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia told Philly.com, “I do think there is a lack of knowledge of how disruptive a concussion can be for a school age child whose primary responsibility is to go to school to learn. A concussion impairs an individual from doing a lot of new learning. When a child gets a concussion, school work can become very difficult. For adults who sustain a concussion, they may be able to work around their symptoms because their work demands may not include a lot of new learning. So the implications for children with a concussion are different than adults with a concussion.”
Most adults who have suffered a concussion only report symptoms in the few days immediately following the injury, but a child’s experience seems usually be very different. Symptoms may not appear for days after an injury, and children tend to take significantly longer to heal than adults. While most adults are healed within a week, it can take children up to three weeks on average.
To help clear up the common misconceptions about concussions, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia released a chart debunking the most widely believed lies about one of the most dangerous injuries affecting children across the country.