WICHITA FALLS, TX–Watching a young athlete play the sport they love most is a gratifying experience-until they get hurt.
A hard hit to the head during any contact sport can lead to a concussion, where the brain is literally rocked within the skull.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, emergency room visits for concussions in kids ages 8 to 13 years old have doubled. Concussions have also risen 200% among teens ages 14 to 19 in the last decade.
At United Regional’s Care Plus Clinic on Barnett Road, Brandon Ohman, MD., sees this kind of head trauma among children and teens frequently, and says it’s an injury that can be detrimental to a developing brain.
“You’re going to notice them struggling in school sometimes, ” said Dr. Ohman. “Lack of sleep, irritability…Junior high kids are more susceptible to concussions and it has to do with where they’re at developmentally. Certainly certain types of sports are higher risk. Female soccer players are very high risk for a concussion.”
Other symptoms of a concussion include headache or pressure in the head, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, slurred speech and fatigue. If these signs go unnoticed, it can lead to worse results.
According to Dr. Ohman, there’s a condition called Second Impact Syndrome, where if you’re not fully recovered from a concussion and receive another concussion on top of that, it can take an even longer time for the brain to heal. That’s why it’s important to have athletic trainers like Jeremy Woodward on the sidelines, watching and ready to treat these athletes when something goes wrong.
“Management of concussions have to be thorough,” says Woodward. “we don’t just clear a kid and return them straight back to play.”
Apart from MRI’s or CT scans, there are also brain tests done at the clinic to make sure these young minds are ready to play once again.
Dr. Ohman says, “We have a Scat 3 form that is used by quite a few doctors that see concussions that helps us to know what kind of symptoms they are having and how frequent they’re having them and what intensity.”
If you’d like to contact Dr. Ohman or know more about the concussion treatments that are available through sports medicine at united regional, click here.