Bumps and bruises are a normal part of childhood. However, head injuries in childhood that may seem minor can have long-lasting consequences. A recent article written by the Alzheimer’s Association discussed research linking moderate and severe traumatic brain injury to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, even years after the initial injury. In addition, a traumatic brain injury can impair a child’s ability to communicate and can affect thought processes such as memory and organization which can impede development. Any child can sustain a head injury, but those that participate in competitive sports run an especially high risk. What can you do to help prevent traumatic brain injury?
- Protection is Key: If your child participates in sports, take an active role in ensuring they’re wearing the appropriate protective gear. Before they begin practice, take a look at the helmet they’ll be wearing and make sure it fits properly. Ill-fitting gear can greatly decrease the protective value.
- Seek Medical Attention: A head injury that seems minor can have hidden consequences. If your child sustains any type of head injury, no matter how minor, you should seek medical attention to rule out larger issues.
- Learn the Signs of TBI: Amnesia or a loss of consciousness are clear signs of a possible concussion, a form of traumatic brain injury. But many other, more subtle, signs are often overlooked. After a head injury, parents, teachers, and coaches should keep an eye out for any change in behavior, including listlessness, confusion, irritability, or a change in sleeping patterns.
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