Emergency room doctors treat roughly 500,000 children with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) every year, and concussions account for as much as 90% of all pediatric TBI cases. While most concussions aren’t life-threatening, they can be serious; and children are particularly susceptible because their brains are still developing. At Discover Health in San Francisco, pediatricians Dr. Oded Herbsman and Dr. Jon-Michael Castelli provide comprehensive care, including screening and treatment, for children who have sustained concussions, as well as specialty referral if necessary. If you’re in the North Beach area, call or book your appointment online today.
A concussion can result from any blow to the head, or even the body, that causes the brain to move back and forth inside the skull. For children, a concussion may happen:
When a child’s brain shifts, bounces, or even twists inside their skull, it creates chemical changes that lead to abnormal brain function. In some cases, a concussion-causing injury may also stretch and damage brain cells.
Severe concussions can cause a temporary loss of consciousness, serious headache pain, and other pronounced symptoms that should cause you to seek immediate emergency care. And mild TBIs often have subtle symptoms that emerge slowly.
When they do appear, these symptoms may last for days, weeks, or even months. Common concussion symptoms include:
Other concussion symptoms that may emerge sometime after the traumatic event include:
If you suspect your child may have a concussion, it’s important to have it diagnosed as soon as possible. Rest — including avoiding strenuous physical activity and activities that involve thinking or concentration — is the primary treatment approach for concussive injuries.
The pediatricians at Discover Health may need to use a variety of methods to diagnose a concussion effectively. After asking you to describe how, when, and where the injury occurred, they may ask your child some basic questions to test their consciousness, memory, and concentration.
Next, your child will have a physical exam that focuses on nervous system function. This exam will assess your child’s balance, coordination, reflexes, and nerve function. Your child may also need to have a brain scan or other imaging test to help rule out a brain bleed.
Although the amount of time it takes to recover from a concussion varies from child to child, most children do recover fully after a few weeks of physical and mental rest.
Your doctor at Discover Health will monitor your child’s recovery closely and give them the green light to return to normal activities once they have fully recovered.