More kids heading to ERs with concussions

October 24, 2012 4:58:44 PM PDT
The NFL is taking a closer look at head injuries and concussions. They can happen in all sports. NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. sat out two races recently after suffering a concussion, and doctors say the message is getting out information about the risk.

Gabby Evans was playing soccer when she got kicked in the temple.

"She kicked too late, and she got my head and I cried and I went and then I played the game," she said.

She seemed OK, until two weeks later.

"After she hit her head again in practice, she started developing symptoms. She was vomiting, she was confused and she had a headache," Gabby's mother, Thomica Evans said.

Gabby had suffered a concussion, but the symptoms were delayed. More kids like Gabby are going to the ER with concussions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says ER visits for traumatic brain injury is up 60 percent for kids under 20.

"It's not that concussion itself is occurring more frequently but because of awareness, we're getting people assessed more quickly after an event happens or if suspicion of concussion is there," said Dr. Summer Ott with the Ironman Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

"We're seeing an appreciation that these are our kids' heads that we're putting at risk," Dr. Tang Ho said.

Dr. Ho's knows. His son Nicolas had a concussion playing football for Kinkcaid.

"Right when I made a tackle, I immediately knew something was off, something was weird. Everything seemed far away; my depth perception was extremely off," Nicholas said.

He didn't tell his dad until after the game. After the ER visit, he took the concussion test and they compared it to his baseline test for memory loss. He was lucky and will play again this week. But he's learned from it.

"I really realize the importance of actually reporting it and taking it seriously," Nicholas said.

And parents, if your child is hit during play, ask questions.

"Don't just ask them once, ask them multiple times, and keep checking in with them. And if you have any concerns, get them check out," Dr. Ott said.

Dr. Ott says parents should watch for memory loss, headache, nausea, and remember, symptoms can be delayed by days or even weeks.


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