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CDC Issues First-Time Guidelines to Help Track and Treat Youth Concussions

Unlike other guides surrounding youth concussion, this one isn't limited to sports injuries.

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After accumulating more than a quarter-century’s worth of data on treating concussions in children, The United States Center For Disease Control has just announced their first set of research-based recommendations for diagnosing, tracking, and treating children’s concussions

This is the most comprehensive guide of its kind. The American Academy of Neurology and The American Academy of Pediatrics both have concussion guides for kids, but they’re limited to sports concussions whereas the recent CDC guide is for all kinds of concussions.  The CDC guide recommends that the concussed child take a break from physical and mental activities, of which school and sports are included, for about three days. Even past the three-day marker, the guide notes that a return to their normal day to day routines should actually be very gradual.

According to CDC brain injury specialist Matthew Breiding, parents should encourage their kids to come forward with any concussion symptoms like headaches, dizziness, light sensitivity, and trouble sleeping. Total loss of consciousness or vomiting are also symptoms of a concussion, but could also point to a more severe kind of injury. Around one million children receive concussions every year and the CDC hopes that the new and more comprehensive guidelines for treatment and diagnosis will make so even fewer concussion go untreated.

A big goal of the new guidelines was to also dispel some myths surrounding concussion treatments, one such being that you only have a concussion if you blackout. Moreover, the new guides assure parents that in most cases, with proper rest, their child’s concussion will run its own course without more medical treatment. Also, the new guide points out that x-rays and CT scans aren’t effective at detecting concussions.

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Still, despite the new guide, awareness of the dangers of concussions and interest in tracking them may already be on people’s minds. For example, the participation in high school football and youth sports, in general, continues to plummet largely due to the fear of brain injury. And, this only becomes more pronounced as we move into an era where indoor activities are gaining on the kinds of outdoor activities that breed concussive incidents.