We continue our journey through sports injuries for children with our own expert Dr. Carol Frey. The responses we received from many concerned parents of young athletes were overwhelming. Dr. Frey is a highly regarded orthopedic surgeon who has cared for Olympians and professional athletes. She practices together with her husband Dr. Keith Feder at the West Coast Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine in Manhattan Beach. Dr Frey’s book “Don’t Worry: My Mom is the Team Doctor” gives great insight of what it’s like to have athletes in the house and how to deal with injuries. Today she would like to tackle the subject “concussions”.
The sports injuries that we see in young athletes can be put into three major categories. Says Dr. Frey: “Acute injuries, overuse injuries and reinjuries are the most common among young athletes.”
- Acute Injuries – Concussions
It’s never a good thing when you see two athletes collide and one or both holding their heads afterwards. Concussions are a serious brain injury that can occur in any sport. The symptoms can be manifold. Dizziness, headache, blurred vision, loss of balance. All those are signs of a concussion. An interesting fact is that most kids do not report the symptoms because they were afraid the coach would pull them out of play.
Signs of Concussion the Coach might see:
- athlete appears dazed or stunned
- is confused about assignment or position
- forgets sports plays
- is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- moves clumsily
- answers questions slowly
- can’t recall events prior to fall or hit
Symptoms of Concussion the Athlete might mention to Coach or Parents:
- headache or “pressure” in head
- nausea or vomitting
- balance problems or dizziness
- double or blurry vision
- sensitivity to light
- sensitivity to noise
- does not feel right
Dr. Frey continues to say that 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries in children occur during sporting activity in the United Sates. A significant number of former players have had ill effects from concussions suffered while playing.
What can parents do?
Dr. Frey believes that parents play an important role. “If you think something isn’t right with your kid after a collision on the field, go see a doctor right away”. The West Coast Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine is comprised of an expert staff and the necessary medical equipment to determine what is really going on in the brain.
The tricky thing about concussions is that you can’t see them. You need imaging such as a CT scan. There is a critical time period after injury referred to as the “concussion penumbra”. During this time, the injured area is at risk for further injury. This is an important period where the player needs rest and observation – and not just “jump back in the game”.
The concussion penumbra is a period of time when there is tenuous equilibrium between brain healing and the need to increase nutrition and blood flow.
The good news: Athletes recover from concussions with the proper treatment and observation plan. Come on into the West Coast Center for Sports Medicine and talk to our staff and our experienced doctors if you have questions about concussions. We are here to help. If the athlete has a concussion, following medical care and advise is key. Getting better takes time. The brain needs to heal.
Call us at 866-591-4844 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Frey and Dr. Feder are available Monday through Friday. And our experienced medical staff is happy to help with whatever questions you might have in regards to concussions and other sports injuries.