More children and teens are involved in higher impact sports such as soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey, and others. However, thanks to ongoing research, there is better recognition of symptoms and diagnosis, and subsequently, changes in treatment and care of concussions. What sometimes seems to be a very cautious response to a head injury is actually more appropriate when the development of the adolescent brain is taken into consideration. The brain does not stop developing until the early to mid 20's. Therefore, injuries occurring at a younger age can have a lasting and significant impact on the brain's optimal function.
Symptoms of a concussion include: Headaches, foggy/cloudy or slower thinking/processing, short/long term memory loss, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, inability to focus/concentrate, irritability, balance difficulties, sleep disruption, emotional lability, and sensitivity to light or noise. Loss of consciousness does not have to be present to have a concussion. Sometimes the symptoms do not appear immediately and can evolve 12 - 48 hours after the injury.
Immediately following a head injury or the diagnosis of a concussion, healthcare providers prefer the teenager to "shut down," or avoid any "brain activities" for only a short amount of time, typical about 24 hours. Too much rest and isolation from typical daily activities can actually worsen physical and emotional symptoms of a concussion. Cognitive function or "brain activities" should remain at a level below the current symptoms, which means activity is ok as long as it doesn't cause an increase in the current concussion symptoms. For a teenager, brain activities are described as reading, school assignments, playing video games, texting, any computer use, and watching TV. As symptoms resolve, the teen can gradually return to small amounts of activity for shortened periods of time, with breaks, to give the brain an opportunity to rest as needed. Light aerobic activity, such as walking or riding a stationary bike can be very beneficial in the early stages of recovery. The balance between activity and rest is important in a teenager's recovery from a concussion.
District 128 strives to support students diagnosed with a concussion in accordance with medical professional recommendations and Illinois mandates. Please refer to this for guidance during a student's recovery period.
District 128 Concussion Care Protocol
More information on concussions can be found at:
Centers For Disease Control (CDC) - Concussions
CDC Guidelines on the Diagnosis and Management of Mild TBI among Children
Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Concussion Management Guidelines
Answers to Common Questions about Concussions