Sports-related Concussion in Children and Adolescents

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Concussions are becoming increasingly important to manage properly as sports participation continues to rise. Repeated injuries occurring before the brain has had a chance to recover from an initial insult are particularly dangerous and must be prevented. Although much national media attention has been devoted to concussions in professional sports, it is important to appreciate that athletes in any age group, children and adolescents in particular, are at risk of sports-related concussion. It is crucial to remove an athlete from play any time concussion is suspected. Once removed from play, recovery then begins with a period of cognitive and physical rest, followed by a gradual return to cognitive and athletic activities as symptoms resolve. Children and adolescents pose a unique challenge to the clinician managing their recovery, as the physical and cognitive rest periods required often involve time away from school and sports, which can be academically detrimental and socially isolating. Recently developed sideline assessment tools have greatly aided the urgent sideline assessment of an athlete suspected of having a concussion. In this article, a brief review of current guidelines is presented in tandem with the authors’ preferred treatment of concussion.

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