Rest a Brain that’s been Hit

Did you think all that padding, fair play, and helmet use was going to protect  you  from a mild tramatic brain injury(mTBI)? All those things do decrease mTBI in teenagers but they still happen and when they do, you  need to know if and when it is safe to return to school and sports.

What is happening with a mild traumatic brain injury? A force hits the body or head and the brain sloshes, moving back and forward or side to side. As this happens, the neurometabolic functions of the brain are disturbed and brain function becomes abnormal. What the brain looks like is normally not changed, but how the brain functions is significantly disturbed. These disturbances can be seen in changes in sleep, emotions, ability to do school work and headaches.

Symptoms of concussion usually fall into four categories:

Thinking/
Remembering
Physical Emotional/
Mood
Sleep
Difficulty thinking clearly HeadacheFuzzy or blurry vision Irritability Sleeping more than usual
Feeling slowed down Nausea or vomiting
(early on)Dizziness
Sadness Sleep less than usual
Difficulty concentrating Sensitivity to noise or lightBalance problems More emotional Trouble falling asleep
Difficulty remembering new information Feeling tired, having no energy Nervousness or anxiety  

See http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/signs_symptoms.html

In the past it was a sign of toughness to return to a game after there was a hit to the head . Today we know there can be lifelong injuries or death if someone receives a head injury and then returns to play and receives another one. While most students with mTBI’s will recover fully with the proper evaluation, rest and slow return to normal activities, now it is mandated by Alaska state law that a player is removed from the game as soon as there is a mTBI and  seen by a healthcare provider trained in head injuries before she/he returns to play. In addition, based on the injured student’s symptoms, the healthcare provider must indicate at what pace the injuried player returns to school work and sports.

HOMER TRIBUNE/Sean Pearson - Mariner Ben Jantzi makes the tackle on a Kenai player in Saturday’s game at Homer High School.  The Mariners fell 55-7 in conference play, but scored the first points on the Kardinals this year.

If a  student has a mTBI, the parent can be the best advocate for keeping the student safe and not returning to play too soon. A parent’s observations of the student’s mTBI symptoms can add to the students’s observations and assist a healthcare provider. After a mild traumatic brain injury and all the symptoms are gone,  a student will first return to school work, then non contact exercise and then regular play. If the symptoms return with any of these activities, further rest is needed.

The Center for Disease Control, as well as the NCAA, has extensive, reasearch based information for students and parents.

http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/Parents_Fact_Sheet-a.pdf

http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Student-Athlete+Experience/Student-Athlete+Well+Being/Concussions

Teen Depression

 

Do I have it and what can help

It is normal to feel sad for anyone but the transition from childhood to adulthood can be a significant time of change. Taking on more responsiblility, having more privileges, negotiating relationships, working, planning for life after high school—can be a wonderful time but also a sad time. If you are feeling low how do you know if this is normal or more serious.

Signs and symptoms of depression in teens

  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits 
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

What Can I Do to Feel Better

When you are depressed, you need to talk to someone. Maybe you can talk to a parent, another trusted adult–a teacher, family member or school nurse. A healthcare provider can discuss whether medication might help and a counselor can help you discover ways to deal with depression in a healthy way.

http://helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen.htm