New Concussion Guidelines

Health

New guidelines for kids and teens who suffer a concussion are making the road to recovery a little easier.

Angelo Neumann had four concussions by the time he was nine.

Mark Neumann, Angelo’s Dad said, “At home, we just have to be extra cautious that he doesn’t hit his head.”

Softball star Hali Jester had a concussion too. She didn’t sit out to recover then had a devastating second one.

Hali Jester said, “I don’t like to sit out. I don’t like to miss anything, and i didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t realize how serious this could be.”

Doctor Mark Halstead says it’s crucial to take concussions seriously.

Mark Halstead, MD, Pediatric Sports Medicine, Washington University, St. Louis said, “When athletes continue to play after their concussion and they don’t come out immediately, those kids have much worse symptoms and it actually oftentimes doubles their recovery time

Previous guidelines said to completely rest the brain after a concussion.

Doctor Halstead said, “We had some people who said, ‘that doesn’t sound exactly right’, because we’ve tried that with things in medicine before that doesn’t usually get people better.”

New guidelines have flipped that old thinking on its head. While kids don’t go back to normal activity right away, light exercise like a 20-minute brisk walk as early as a day after an injury is beneficial.

“The research out there shows that when we start doing some light physical activity earlier on in the process, people recover quicker.”

Previous guidelines suggested limiting electronics. But cutting off a kid’s social network can lead to isolation, anxiety and depression. The new rule? Electronics are OK.

“We don’t want someone to be, you know, on restricted use of them, but also that there’s no harm necessarily in using them,” said Doctor Halstead.

Another change – kids shouldn’t be kept out of school for a prolonged time, but limiting academic workload may be necessary.

Doctor Halstead said, “Being totally inactive is not good for our bodies either.”

A report by the american academy of pediatrics, concussions ranked highest in boys’ tackle football followed by lacrosse, ice hockey and wrestling.

And in girls’ sports, soccer reported the most incidents followed by lacrosse, field hockey and basketball.

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