A blow to the head or body can cause a serious, life-altering brain injury. Even a seemingly minor bump or fall can lead to a concussion, a kind of brain injury. These key Habits to Have® will help you avoid serious TBI, and learn how to identify and respond to minor TBI and a concussion.
In all cases of TBI, it’s important to seek medical care. Quick medical attention can help prevent or reduce long-term damage. Don’t waste time thinking – stop whatever you were doing that caused the injury and get medical attention right away.
Whether you’re taking a joy ride on your bicycle or playing a contact sport, protect your noggin with a helmet. Bicycling, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, baseball, hockey and football all require helmets, all the time. Be sure the helmet is designed specifically for your chosen activity and that it fits properly.
Car accidents are a major cause of TBI, so don’t turn the ignition key until everyone is buckled up. Be sure to follow recommended guidelines for car seats and booster seats. See the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines on car seats and booster seats.
Concussions are the most common type of TBI. Most people recover fully from a concussion, but all need to be taken seriously. A person does not have to lose consciousness to have a concussion, and signs of a concussion can be subtle. See these concussion signs and symptoms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most people who suffer a concussion recover fully, but when a second concussion is suffered soon after the first one, it is more likely to cause serious, disabling damage. That’s why it’s so important for anyone with a concussion to be fully recovered and cleared by a healthcare provider before resuming any sports or recreational activities.
Each year, U.S. emergency departments treat nearly 175,000 children and teens for sports-related TBIs, including concussions. Educate children and teens on the seriousness of a concussion and the importance of sitting out after a concussion. There is no ‘toughing it out’ when it comes to brain injury.
Before your child’s sports season begins, talk to your coach, school or league about safe-play procedures (penalties for dangerous play, good sportsmanship, etc.) and concussion policies (must be cleared by a physician for return to play, etc.)