Concussion Care for Active Children and Adolescents in Fairfield County
Despite taking precautions, active children and adolescents may experience head injuries, need to be evaluated, and appropriate return to school and play guidelines must be provided. Year round, Willows Pediatrics is committed to providing complete, consistent and comprehensive concussion management for our patients. However, with school starting and “Concussion Season” upon us, we want to review the services and expertise Willows Pediatrics can provide to children and adolescents who experience a head injury. Read More
Now that we’ve got a month of school under our belts here in Fairfield County, Willows Pediatrics thought it would be a good time to share some tips for school-travel safety with parents of school-aged children.
We love seeing kids in Westport, Fairfield and other local towns walking, biking and even skateboarding to school! It’s reminiscent of a simpler time, it’s a wonderful way to get the blood flowing (and get the “wiggles” out), and it’s great exercise too!
But here are a few things to remember if you get to school by foot. Read More
Whether your children have been home for the summer or away at camp, when mid-August hits everyone’s minds can’t help turn to “back to school” time! Along with the excitement of buying school supplies and finding out which teachers your children will have comes a bit of planning and preparation. Today Willows Pediatrics would like to address two big school-related issues: backpacks and school lunches.
On the subject of backpacks, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is working to educate students and their parents about the dangers of wearing backpacks that are either too heavy or worn improperly. Overly-heavy backpacks or those worn on one shoulder can cause pain in their neck, shoulders and back as well as posture-related issues. Read More
Having a teenager who is learning to drive can be one of parenthood’s most nerve-racking times. Not only are our children being given the keys to more freedom, they are being given control of a potentially dangerous motor vehicle.
Here in Fairfield County, where highways can be dicey and back roads can be slippery, encouraging our youngest drivers to navigate the roads safely is of the utmost importance. Here are some sobering statistics from the CDC: Read More
Heather Buccigross, PA-C
Lately, concussions and head injuries have been making national headlines; the NFL has even changed some of its rules regarding permissible tackles to address the issue. On a more local level, concussions during sports—and the impact they have on the brain—are something we take very seriously here at Willows Pediatric Group.
With that in mind, we offer ImPACT testing, a computer-based testing program specifically designed for the management of sports-related concussion. ImPACT testing is widely used in concussion management and has been implemented in many high school and college athletic programs.
The test measures attention, memory, processing speed, and reaction time. In addition, it asks for the individual taking the test to indicate the presence and level of concussion symptoms, if they exist. One of our Physician’s Assistants, Heather Buccigross, has been specially trained in this area and can help manage and treat children ages 12 years and up. (Some schools perform baseline ImPACT testing on students playing contact sports. Results of the testing can guide when it is safe for an athlete to return to sports. If your child does not have a baseline test done at school, we can perform one-please speak to your physician or PA about scheduling one.)
Recently, Heather spoke to parents and coaches in Fairfield about concussions and sports, and we thought we would share some of the highlights of her speech. If you would like more information, please let us know.
A concussion, known in the medical world as MBTI (mild traumatic brain injury), is a disturbance in brain function that occurs following either a blow to the head, or as a result of the violent shaking of the head. The CDC reports 300,000 sports related concussions occur annually in the U.S, and it is believed that sports concussions are under reported and this does not reflect the true incidence.
If your child participates in sports, here is a list of some of the most common symptoms reported by athletes with head injuries:
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish
- Feeling “foggy”
- Change in sleep pattern
- Concentration or memory problems
- Also, here is a list of the most common behaviors others have observed in athletes with head injuries:
- Appears to be dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignments
- Forgets plays
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even momentarily)
- Shows behavior or personality change
- Forgets events prior to hit (retrograde amnesia)
- Forgets events after hit (anterograde amnesia)
Even if you don’t think your child was hit in the head, if he or she is experiencing these symptoms, it is best to have him or her evaluated. Something called “Second Impact Syndrome” occurs in athletes with an unreported, prior concussion who return to play before resolution of the symptoms and can cause a very serious increase in intracranial pressure.
This is one of the reasons coaches are encouraged to remove athletes from the game after any head injury and to perform an on-field mental status evaluation. When in doubt, it’s best to keep an athlete out of the game and refer him or her for a full evaluation in a medical office. With proper diagnosis and management, we can maximize recovery after a concussion and take steps to avoid risk from returning to play too soon.
Your child’s safety is very important to us, and the proper management of head injuries is crucial. Again, if you would like to schedule baseline ImPACT testing or have any concerns about your athlete, please contact us.
Take care, and enjoy the spring sports season!
Sometimes, especially with young children, making sure everyone is in the car and safely buckled up can be the trickiest part of the day! We know that just getting your children to an appointment at Willows Pediatrics can involve various forms of car seats, boosters and seat belts. So, to make sure all of our patients arrive here safely, we wanted to go over current car safety guidelines.
According to the CDC, in 2008, an average of 4 children ages 14 or younger were killed in motor vehicle crashes every day, and many more were injured. These statistics are sobering, but there is also reassuring news: proper car seat safety can make a huge difference. In 2008, restraint use saved the lives of 244 children ages 4 and younger and child safety seats reduce the risk of death in car crashes by 71% for infants and 54% for toddlers ages one to four.
The AAP has put their car safety recommendations for 2010 on HealthyChildren.org.
According to this very detailed paper, infants should be placed in rear-facing car seats and always in the back seat of the car. Infants should ride rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. (At a minimum, under Connecticut law, children must ride rear-facing until they have reached at least 1 year of age AND weigh at least 20 pounds.)
In Westport, Weston, Fairfield and neighboring towns, many of us live on cul de sacs, quiet streets or have paved driveways. These smooth surfaces are ideal for kids to play on scooters, bikes, skateboards, roller blades, rip sticks and other wheeled toys. While it makes us happy to see so many of our patients outside, learning balance, practicing coordination and getting exercise, we are routinely surprised by the sheer number of youngsters we see on a daily basis without helmets. Read More
photo via flickr.com
With the warm weather already here, many local families are venturing to the beach or to backyard pools for a little relief from the heat. And while swimming and splashing are fun, healthy ways to spend time in the summer, parents and caregivers cannot forget that safety is of paramount importance. The CDC reports that an average of ten people per day die from drowning in the U.S., and one quarter of those are children under the age of fourteen. Unfortunately, at Willows, we’ve seen first-hand the heartbreaking results of drownings and near-drownings in local water and hope never to see similar tragedies again. Read More