Published on June 13, 2013

Signs of concussion may exist long after hard hit

Author: Erica Rakow, General assignment reporter

Wesley Mills Sports MedicineWe've heard the dangers of athletes and concussions and now a new study says in young people, it's the second or third concussion that can be the most dangerous.

A new study from researchers with the University of Toronto finds young people, especially children, who suffer from a second or third concussion, need to be watched more closely during recovery because it takes longer for them to heal.

Dr. Wesley Mills wasn't surprised by this new research and says concussions can be much more dangerous with children because their brain is still developing. He says one of the very important things parents can do is don't just watch your child's behavior and symptoms until they are allowed to return to play, but continue to watch them weeks after they are cleared.

Concussions and athletes; Whether talking about children or the pros, it's an issue that has become more prevalent in recent years.

"We really worry about this more with the kids because they're still growing and you have the complication of possibly having second impact syndrome," said Dr. Wesley Mills, a sports medicine physician.

Dr. Mills says second impact syndrome can occur with a second or third concussion and can be fatal, meaning parents need to keep an even closer eye on their children after a head injury.

Researchers believe the average athlete needs up to two weeks to stop having symptoms from the first concussion. In the new study children and young adults who had just suffered their second concussion took an average of 35 days to get back to normal.

The most important finding in this study is that the two week recovery period is probably not appropriate after the first concussion. Dr. Mills says this is why it's so important for children to gradually get back into physical activity after concussions and head injuries.

"Basically its a greater progression back to playing sports so you know we might have you doing jogging activities, then sports related activities and then after a while maybe some hitting and contact activities," said Dr. Mills.

Dr. Mills said some of the main symptoms parents need to keep an eye out for in the weeks following a concussion are headaches, nausea, vomiting and memory issues and that if your child continues to experience these, to go back to the doctor.

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