Hard hits and hard knocks! - NURSING

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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Hard hits and hard knocks!

Taking part in sports and recreation activities is an important part of a healthy, physically active lifestyle for kids. But injuries can, and do, occur. More than 2.6 million children 0-19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

Thankfully, there are steps that parents can take to help make sure kids stay safe on the field, the court, or wherever they play or participate in sports and recreation activities.

Prevention Tips

Gear up. When children are active in sports and recreation, make sure they use the right protective gear for their activity, such as helmets, wrist guards, knee or elbow pads.

Use the right stuff. Be sure that sports protective equipment is in good condition and worn correctly all the time—for example, avoid missing or broken buckles or compressed or worn padding. Poorly fitting equipment may be uncomfortable and may not offer the best protection.

Practice makes perfect. Have children learn and practice skills they need in their activity. For example, knowing how to tackle safely is important in preventing injuries in football and soccer. Have children practice proper form – this can prevent injuries during baseball, softball, and many other activities. Also, be sure to safely and slowly increase activities to improve physical fitness; being in good condition can protect kids from injury.

Pay attention to temperature. Allow time for child athletes to gradually adjust to hot or humid environments to prevent heat-related injuries or illness. Parents and coaches should pay close attention to make sure that players are hydrated and appropriately dressed.

Be a good model. Communicate positive safety messages and serve as a model of safe behavior, including a wearing helmet and following the rules.

One of the most common injury related to kids sports are head injuries and concussions,especially for those contact sports such as football. Even with a helmet on a concussion can occur.

A concussion is also known as a mild traumatic brain injury. Although we usually hear about head injuries in athletes, many occur off the playing field in car and bicycle accidents, in fights, and even minor falls.

Kids who sustain concussions usually recover within a week or two without lasting health problems by following certain precautions and taking a breather from sports.

But a child with an undiagnosed concussion can be at risk for brain damage and even disability.

Anyone who sustains a head injury should stop participating and be removed from the activity or sport. Even without a loss of consciousness, it's important to watch for symptoms of a concussion.

Common initial symptoms include:

  • a change in level of alertness
  • extreme sleepiness
  • a bad headache
  • confusion
  • repeated vomiting
  • seizure
Someone with these symptoms should be taken to the emergency room.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Someone with a concussion may lose consciousness, but this doesn't happen in every case. In fact, a brief loss of consciousness or "blacking out" isn't a factor in determining concussion severity.

Other signs of a concussion include:

  • headache
  • sleepiness or difficulty falling asleep
  • feeling confused and dazed
  • difficulty concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
  • dizziness
  • difficulty with coordination or balance (such as being able to catch a ball or other easy tasks)
  • trouble remembering things, such as what happened right before or after the injury
  • blurred vision
  • slurred speech or saying things that don't make sense
  • nausea and vomiting
  • feeling anxious or irritable for no apparent reason
Concussion symptoms may not appear initially and can develop over the first 24-72 hours. Anyone showing any of these signs should be seen by a doctor. Young kids can have the same concussion symptoms as older kids and adults, but changes in mood and behavior may be more subtle.

Call an ambulance or go to the ER right away if, after a head injury, your child:

  • can't be awakened
  • has one pupil — the dark part of the eye — that's larger than the other
  • has convulsions or seizures
  • has slurred speech
  • seems to be getting more confused, restless, or agitated
Though most kids recover quickly from concussions, some symptoms — including memory loss, headaches, and problems with concentration — may linger for several weeks or months. Nearly 15% of kids age 5 and older have symptoms and/or changes in functioning lasting 3 months or longer. It's important to watch for these symptoms and contact your doctor if they persist.

Diagnosis

If a concussion is suspected, the doctor will ask about how the head injury happened, when, and its symptoms. The doctor also may ask basic questions to gauge your child's consciousness, memory, and concentration ("Who are you?"/"Where are you?"/"What day is it?").

The diagnosis of a concussion is made by health care provider based on history and physical exam. The doctor will perform a thorough examination of the nervous system, including testing balance, coordination, nerve function, and reflexes.

Sometimes a doctor may order a CT scan of the brain (a detailed brain X-ray) or an MRI (a non-X-ray brain image) to rule out bleeding or other serious brain injury. Concussions can change the way the brain works, but in most cases, imaging tests will show normal results.

Preventing Concussions

All kids should wear properly fitting, appropriate headgear and safety equipment when biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, snowboarding or skiing, and playing contact sports. Safety gear has been shown to reduce the occurrence of severe head trauma.

Childproofing your home will go a long way toward keeping an infant or toddler safe from concussions and other injuries. Babies reach, grasp, roll, sit, and eventually crawl, pull up, "cruise" along furniture, and walk. Toddlers may pull themselves up using table legs; they'll use bureaus and dressers as jungle gyms; they'll reach for whatever they can see.

All of these activities can result in a head injury that leads to a concussion. Be sure your child has a safe place to play and explore, and never leave a baby or toddler unattended.

The time you spend taking these safety precautions — and getting your kids into the habit of abiding by your safety rules and regulations — will help keep your family safe and sound!

Credit to : KidsHealth.org

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