St. Camillus informs readers how to identify, treat concussions

For children, use a car seat properly and make sure safety gates and window guards are installed to prevent falls. For adults and the elderly, pay attention to footwear: make sure shoes fit well and provide proper support. Avoid high heels and strappy shoes.

What should every parent/coach know about concussions?

Concussions should be treated seriously. There are five grades that are typically determined by the amount of time that the individual was unconscious and the extent of memory loss around the event. A return to contact sports is determined by a specific period of time after the patient is asymptomatic -- it varies by the grade of concussion.

Additionally, a person is at higher risk for concussion after he/she has had one. It takes less force to cause subsequent concussions and the symptoms tend to become progressively worse and last longer with each concussion.

How do you treat a concussion victim?

Treatment largely depends on the symptoms. Rest and recovery are typically recommended; medical imaging such as an MRI or CT scan may be required. Evaluations and treatment may be necessary, (typically in neuropsychology, speech, physical therapy and occupational therapy), to address difficulties related to cognition, language and fine/gross motor skills.

What should you do if you think you or someone else has a concussion?

Always call the doctor following any type of blow to the head. It is particularly important to consult your doctor if there is a brief loss of consciousness (less than two minutes) or loss of consciousness with symptoms of concussion present.

Call 911 if there is a loss of consciousness greater than two minutes as this can be an indication of more severe brain injury. Also, monitor the patient in the days following a blow to the head (72 hours) as it may take time for symptoms to develop or they may increase in severity.

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