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A football player from Los Angeles Baptist High School takes part in a pre-season practice. With close monitoring, parents and coaches can help kids heal from the inevitable hits to the head that contact sports deliver.
A few decades ago, coaches and parents figured head injuries that led to concussions were pretty much a harmless element of football, basketball and soccer. Recent publicity about severe concussions to professional athletes has generated awareness about the risks concussions pose to brain function.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles are urging parents this fall to learn how to identify concussion symptoms. They can result from hits or jolts to the head that cause the brain to move inside the skull - or from changes in motion that cause a person’s head to rotate quickly.
The more obvious signs include: dizziness; confusion; sensitivity to light and noise; changes in vision or hearing; slowed thinking; trouble concentrating; irritability and anxiety.
Experts say that if your child exhibits even one or two of these symptoms after playing sports – even casually with friends – it’s important to have a doctor check it out.
Rest is key to recovery from concussions. That means more time to sleep, nap and give the brain a break from thinking. No computer time, texting, phone calls or video games. All of that can prevent symptoms from recurring or getting worse.