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Consumer Reports: Concussions and children

There are many benefits associated with children playing sports, but as the spring season gets underway, parents also need to be aware of the dangers of concussions. (Consumer Reports TV)

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

Concussions are a common type of sports injury. While they are usually not life-threatening, they can still be serious.

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

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

Neurologist and Consumer Reports Medical Director Orly Avitzur added that it’s important to take any blow to the head seriously.

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

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

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

You should be sure your child has medical clearance to go back to sports after a concussion.

Rest is important, but current thinking suggests it’s also OK to have some gentle physical activity -- such as walking -- in the first few days after a concussion, if your child is up to it. Getting up and around a bit may actually promote quicker healing.

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