A recent Globe and Mail article outlined conclusions of a new study which suggests that children need more rest post-concussion compared to adults. As a result of this study, doctors have designed a new set of guidelines for handling pediatric concussion for children from ages 5 -18.
Highlights from the new guidelines are outlined as excerpted from this article:
- Symptoms in children and youth can be far more persistent - of the patients examined, 30 per cent had symptoms, such as headaches, that persisted for more than a month
- Children who suffer a concussion need more time to recover than adults, who are usually instructed to rest for seven to 10 days
- Along with physical symptoms such as loss of consciousness, lack of balance, headache and neck pain, the guidelines warn of emotional symptoms including irritability, sadness, anxiety and nervousness
- A young person's memory should also be tested (with questions about the game or previous games played)
According to the article, Dr. Zemek, who was the lead author of this study and is a scientist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, advised that:
"...doctors are getting better at recognizing concussions, but we're still behind in how to manage return to work. The tools exist but some [doctors, parents, coaches] don't know how to use them or they couldn't find them."
The above guidelines are essential in helping parents recognize concussion symptoms, while also helping health-care professional's use "evidence-based recommendations" for their diagnosis.
While many safety stipulations outline that if a player has one concussion related symptom he/she should immediately be removed (from the game), many care-givers and coaches do not follow this procedure. Rest is important and a failure to rest at the outset can cause much more damage in the long term.
This article quoted Dr. Zemek as saying that this study is the, "first comprehensive pediatric guidelines that we're aware of."
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers lauds the work of doctors like Dr. Zemek in his team for bringing greater awareness to this important issue and for helping develop guidelines for children to engage in sport safely.
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