Sports Concussion Program
Helping Children Get Back in the Game after a Concussion
A collision on the basketball court. A helmet-to-helmet tackle. A fall on the soccer field.
All are common occurrences in youth sports – all can result in a concussion. Appropriate identification and management of concussions are vital to preventing further and more serious injury.
Our team at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, works together to treat concussion patients. The sports concussion program for children includes specialists from pediatric sports medicine, orthopedic surgery and neuropsychology, and has the specialized training, experience and technology to diagnose, manage and treat sports concussions in children.
Most athletes who suffer concussions make a full recovery, but there are some who experience chronic cognitive and behavioral difficulties because they returned to action before they were completely healed. These athletes are vulnerable to future concussions and possibly a more severe and permanent injury.
The sports concussion team offers pre-season baseline assessments of teams throughout Northeast Ohio to ensure that no student athlete returns to their sport before they are ready. This combination of questionnaires and computerized tests measure a number of basic cognitive functions and are given before the season starts. If an athlete should suffer a concussion during the season, they are given a second test and the results are compared to the original test to gauge whether or not brain functions have returned to their pre-season level.
Baseline assessments are available to schools, club sports, teams and individuals.
An important part of treatment for a concussion is getting plenty of rest, both sleep at night and naps or rest breaks during the day if needed. Your doctor will probably tell you to avoid certain physical activities and sports while you recover and may suggest medicine to take if you have a headache.
If your symptoms do not go away in a few days or if they get worse, you may need to see a doctor who specializes in concussions.
You can take a number of steps to help reduce your risk for a concussion or prevent it in your children:
- Wear a seat belt every time you are in a motor vehicle.
- Make sure your children use the proper safety seat, booster seat or seat belt.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Wear a helmet for activities such as riding a bike or motorcycle, playing contact sports, skiing, horseback riding, and snowboarding.
- Reduce your risk for falls by eliminating clutter in your home, removing slippery area rugs, and installing grab bars in the bathroom if needed, especially for older adults.
- Never work on a ladder if you feel dizzy or lightheaded. Alcohol can make you dizzy. Some medicines also can make you dizzy or affect your balance.
- Have your vision checked at least once a year. Poor vision can increase your risk for falls and other types of accidents.