Concussion Program

The Stanford Children’s Health Concussion Program is a comprehensive program designed to help your child return to sports and regular activity safely after a concussion. Our multidisciplinary team of pediatric physicians and experts in orthopedics, sports medicine, neurology and neurosurgery are available to provide consultation and coordinated care.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or jolt to the body. A concussion can result in temporary changes in a person’s normal functioning, especially in areas of attention and balance. Common symptoms include double vision or visual changes, confusion, being dazed, dizziness, headache, vomiting, and memory loss for what happened before or after the injury. Most young people will recover completely from a single concussion within two weeks, however, some may take longer. It is important to have your child evaluated by a physician.

Concussion signs and symptoms

Visit a doctor immediately if your child is experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Increasing confusion
  • Severe, worsening or persistent headache
  • Multiple vomiting episodes
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Trouble walking
  • Seizure
  • Strange behavior
  • Weakness
  • Loss of or sudden change in vision
  • One pupil is larger than the other
  • Losing consciousness

Visit a doctor within a few days if your child is experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Feeling dazed, dizzy or confused
  • Forgetting what happened around the time of the injury
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light/noise
  • Trouble concentrating, difficulty remembering, slowed thinking
  • Emotional changes such as irritability, sadness or anxiety

Tips for helping your child get better

Safety: Avoid sports or other activities that might cause another blow to the head. Return to contact or impact sports is not recommended until the athlete has been evaluated.

Activity: Moderate intensity aerobic exercise (NON-CONTACT - e.g. cycling or running) is encouraged after 24 to 48 hours rest under your physician’s direction. Monitoring recovery and return to activity often requires help from parents, teachers, coaches and athletic trainers

Extra time: Typical activities may take longer than normal. Allow as much time as they need and avoid pressure to complete tasks quickly.

If they forget, give them the information: If there is trouble recalling information, just fill in the blanks. It doesn’t speed recovery by trying to force them to recall the information.

Allow breaks: There may be more trouble paying attention. Encourage frequent breaks and shorter work periods.

Patience: There may be an increase in irritability, shorter temper or easier frustration than what is usual. Don’t take it personally and encourage a break to cool off.

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