If you ask someone over the age of 30 if they have ever had a concussion when they were young, there is a good chance they will say they have. They probably won’t exhibit any symptoms from the injury, and most likely they are completely fine. Concussion just wasn’t considered a serious injury back then. You took the day off if you felt immediate effects, and got back to work the next day.
So what is the difference now? We hear all the time about children dealing with significant issues from traumatic brain injury, and a person of any age who receives a concussion will likely be out of commission for a week at the bare minimum.
One of the main reasons for the increased alertness to brain injury is we know much much more about the long term effects that can come from a hit to the head. Many who say they never had problems from their fall or collision when they were young likely did suffer issues for a period, but lack of awareness makes it easier to not notice fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. If you are expected to get over an injury quickly, especially one with external symptoms, it is natural to assume feeling tired isn’t related.
Of course, improved methods of diagnosis have also raised the number of children being told they suffered TBI or concussion from an injury. One of the best ways to be able to identify TBI is having a baseline for cognitive abilities before the injury, and Janet Tumelty from the Cinnaminson Patch recently reported about something called the ImPACT test.
ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (yes, calling it the “ImPACT test” is redundant) and the test can be given to children as young as 10 to get an assessment of cognitive and neurological responses before and after brain injury.
This type of test is becoming standard for high school aged athletes and older, but few are aware that it can be effective for younger children as well. Since traumatic brain injury diagnosis requires a lot of subjective responses from patients as to how they feel or any symptoms they may be having, having a record to measure behavior and abilities post-accident may be the best way to make sure your children are treated as well as possible if they ever deal with TBI.