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What to look for after a concussion in children when they return to school

A new study appearing in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine confirms that children may suffer attention and memory difficulties following a concussion for a year following the original injury and sometimes even longer.

The confirmation that brain damage following a concussion can last a lifetime has important implications for the role of the school and educators in dealing with the long term deficits following a traumatic brain injury.  Schools need to focus on the need to provide assistance and accommodations to students returning to the classroom following a concussion,

The study found that children with brain injuries were more likely to have both "somatic" symptoms like headache, fatigue and balance problems, and cognitive symptoms such as forgetfulness and attention problems.

The somatic symptoms tended to wane over time, but in some cases the cognitive problems persisted, particularly for those children who lost consciousness when they hit their head or had abnormal results on an MRI scan.

According to the most recent statements by the Centers for Disease Control, when students return to school after a concussion, school professionals should watch for:

  • Increased problems paying attention or concentrating
  • Increased problems remembering or learning new information
  • Longer time needed to complete tasks or assignments
  • Difficult organizing tasks or shifting between tasks
  • Inappropriate or impulsive behavior during class
  • Greater irritability
  • Lessor ability to cope with stress
  • Being more emotional than usual
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulties handling a stimulating environment (lights, noise, etc.)
  • Physical symptoms (headache, nausea, dizziness)

 

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Comments

Brain Injury Attorneys

As a parent, this is always useful to know. Children are so prone to accidents and we always need to keep a watchful eye on them, just in case. Great post.

MH

I think it is wonderful that you are bringing this to attention. I recently completed a research paper about traumatic brain injuries. I think it is very important that parents and teachers keep the information that you posted in mind if they have a student that suffered a traumatic brain injury. Here is an excerpt from my paper: "Some difficulties a child might have resulting from a brain injury may be misdiagnosed or misunderstood as another childhood problem. For example a child in school may be suffering from the effects of a brain injury while the teachers believe he or she has a learning disability. A child may be suffering from “invisible” disabilities from a brain injury. This also happens with adults, but it is important with children to remember this when trying to help them transition back into their pre-injury life." Thank you for raising awareness on this topic!

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