Edit ModuleShow Tags

Concussions & Kids

Concussion symptoms, treatment and protection

(page 1 of 2)

It was the homecoming football game Saturday against rival St. Jerome, an important day for 11-year-old Eddie Guarnaccia of Southampton, PA, and tensions were high. 

“I had the ball, put my head down to run and got hit on my head with the other guy’s helmet,” recalls Eddie, who was tackled, fell back and hit the ground. 

Because Eddie wasn’t knocked unconscious, he was able to get himself up. His dad, Ed, the offensive-line coach, conducted a quick sideline evaluation, determined that Eddie seemed OK and put him back in the game. Unbeknownst to his dad, Eddie had suffered a concussion.

Signs of a concussion

Families think that most concussions cause a loss of consciousness, but this happens only 10 percent or less of the time, explains Thomas Drake, MD, children’s rehabilitation specialist at Cooper University Health Care in Camden, NJ. Like Eddie, a child may look and seem OK because there may be no bump or swelling.

Because collisions and hits happen so often in high-contact sports (even ones that may not be obvious, like girls' soccer and snow sports), many players, including Eddie, don’t think twice when they do occur. “You can’t judge the injury by the mechanics of what you saw happen,” says Dr. Drake. Sometimes kids seem to experience a fairly minor blow but have very significant symptoms, while for others it’s the reverse.

“There can be immediate concussion symptoms and delayed ones that initially don’t seem like a big deal,” says Rochelle Haas, MD, pediatric rehabilitation medical specialist at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital in Wilmington, DE.

Concussions: a "silent epidemic"

“In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control recognized that concussions were likely a silent epidemic — underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. They were completely missed and mistreated,” says Dr. Drake. This prompted the CDC, the NFL and 26 other sports organizations to launch “Heads Up” to educate coaches, medical providers and parents about this stealth danger. 

“A concussion is a very difficult thing to define, because there is no way for me as a doctor to see, feel, touch or measure it,” states Dr. Drake. Neurological scans are not fail-safe, because not all concussions lead to detectable bleeding or bruises.  

Dr. Drake explains that a concussion is a functional injury that results in problems in four main areas — physical, cognitive, behavior and sleep. Symptoms may be immediate or delayed. Some patients may experience a raft of symptoms; others, just one.  

Next page: Concussion treatment, recovery and return to activity

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Comcast Offers Free Premium Channels

During the coronavirus shutdown, Comcast is offering free access to certain premium channels, starting with Showtime and educational networks for kids.

Free Online Education Tools to Keep Kids Learning

12 free educational sites to help keep your kids on track while schools are closed.

Online Entertainment Ideas for Parents

Take care of yourself with these online diversions. Share them with the kids. Or get some alone time.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags


The voices of local moms
School Refusal: 8 Parent Tips When Your Child Refuses to Go to School

School Refusal: 8 Parent Tips When Your Child Refuses to Go to School

8 parent tips on how to deal with school refusal.


Printable Halloween Memory Game For Toddlers And Preschoolers

Printable Halloween Memory Game For Toddlers And Preschoolers

The perfect Halloween game and craft activity for your kid.


How to Get Your Kids to Help Around the House

How to Get Your Kids to Help Around the House

This mom uses a chore list and the kids get to pick which ones to do in order to earn screen time.