Concussions in the Youth Athlete

Concussions in the Youth Athlete 420 280 Jennifer Lane

There are over 300,000 high school athletes that suffer from concussions every year. A study conducted at Northwestern University showed that the number of diagnosed concussions doubled from 2005 to 2015, female athletes experienced greater rates of concussions than male athletes playing the same sports.

This rise in numbers is due in part to athletes coming forward with mild and moderate symptoms as well as more attention being brought to the issue by schools, media and parents. All sports are seeing a rise in reported concussions but many still go unreported. Young athletes still tend to put their team ahead of their own personal health. They don’t want to let down the team during an important game so they don’t come forward to report symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a concussion? Symptoms fall in these following categories: physical, cognitive, emotional symptoms as well as sleep disturbances. Throbbing head, light sensitivity, nausea, lack of appetite, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, loss of consciousness, dizziness, blurred vision, slurred speech, appearing dazed or confused, delayed response to questions, ringing in the ears are just a few signs that you might observe.

What is the role of PT in recovering from concussions? For many years, healthcare providers prescribed rest and removal of all stimulation from a patient recovering from a concussion. But now there is mounting evidence pointing to a more active approach to concussion rehab. Physical Therapists’ expertise in treating vestibular (inner ear), cervical (neck), ocular (vision) and post-traumatic migraines makes them key participants in the rehab process. For patients to have the best recovery takes an interdisciplinary approach that can involve PT’s, physicians, OT’s, ophthalmologists, neurologists, speech pathologists, to name a few.

There are great tools out there to help diagnose for concussions. If you are suspicious of having a concussion or your child having one, go see your PT, athletic trainer, coach or physician. They can help you get a proper diagnosis. There are other tools available too. app for concussion testing. You can run baseline, sideline and return-to-play concussion tests using mobile app.

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