These injuries can be dire and must be monitored, study says
MONDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Children who suffer a concussion don't just have a minor head bump, but a brain injury that parents, coaches and teachers need to take more seriously, Canadian researchers warn.
Parents often believe that concussion injury is mild and doesn't involve damage to the brain, said lead researcher Dr. Carol DeMatteo, an associate clinical professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario.
However, "concussion really is a brain injury -- there's no question about that," she said.
"The term concussion is used frequently, but there are no real guidelines in using it with children," DeMatteo said. "This means that many different types of injury of different severity can be called a concussion. This leads to misconceptions by families and coaches and teachers and children themselves."
Instead of using the word "concussion," these injuries should be called mild brain injuries and that may help these children get the care they need, DeMatteo added. "We only have one brain, so let's help kids look after theirs."
The report is published in the Jan. 18 online edition of Pediatrics.
For the study, DeMatteo's group reviewed the medical records of 434 children seen at McMaster Children's Hospital for a brain injury. About a third (32 percent) were diagnosed with concussion.
The researchers found that, compared with other brain injuries, children diagnosed with concussion spent less time in the hospital and fewer days out of school. They were also more likely to go back to school shortly after leaving the hospital.
If children go back to school or sports too soon after a concussion they are at an increased risk of having another head injury, DeMatteo noted. "Kids are twice as likely to have another head injury within a year if they have
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