Dangers of concussions

Prevention recommended by experts

By Marilyn Moritz - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - There are many benefits associated with children playing sports, but as the spring season gets closer, parents need to be aware of the dangers of concussions.

While concussions are not usually life-threatening, they can still be serious.

Emily Penner, 15, is thrilled to be playing basketball again. She got a serious concussion during a practice two years ago, and she went through months of physical therapy before fully regaining her balance.

Emily's mother still gets emotional thinking about the long and difficult road to recovery.

“As a mom, you just, you want to do everything for your child, but there is nothing you can do. There’s really nothing you can do to help,” Dianne Penner said.

Parents may feel helpless, but Consumer Reports said there are some things they can do, starting with prevention.

“Talk to the coach. You know, have a conversation about player safety. You know, ask what coaches are doing, ask what they’re thinking about concussion prevention,” said Dianne Umansky, Consumer Reports’ health editor.

Neurologist Orly Avitzur said it’s important to take any blow to the head seriously.

“If you think your child has a concussion, pull them out of the game. You don’t want them to return to play on the same day as a concussion, even if you think their symptoms have resolved,” Avitzur said.

Symptoms can come about quickly or can be delayed a day or two. Look out for things such as nausea, a headache, confusion, dizziness and memory problems.

After a lot of rest and rehabilitation, Emily has fully recovered.

Treatment depends on the extent of the injury. While most symptoms resolve within a week or two, don’t be surprised if they linger.

Parents should make sure their child has medical clearance to go back to playing sports after a concussion. Current thinking suggests it’s OK to perform some gentle activities, such as walking, in the first few days. Parents should check with their child’s doctor.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2018 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.