Concussion and Kids: Double Impact

Being able to recognize the signs of a concussion is the key to preventing more serious injuries in young athletes.

February 7, 2011 8:56:31 AM PST
Often referred to as concussions, mild traumatic brain injuries are one of the most commonly seen neurological disorders.

They [mTBIs] are the defined by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention as "the occurrence of injury to the head arising from blunt trauma or acceleration or deceleration forces," which is seen following symptoms similar to basic head injuries, such as "...transient confusion, disorientation, or impaired consciousness; dysfunction of memory around the time of injury; or loss of consciousness lasting less than 30 minutes."

When these symptoms are accompanied by "Any period of observed or self-reported: seizures acutely following injury to the head; irritability, lethargy, or vomiting following head injury, especially among infants and very young children; or headache, dizziness, irritability, fatigue, or poor concentration, especially among older children and adults," mTBI is a likely diagnosis. The leading causes of mTBI are from falling, misuse of firearms and sports and recreational activity. Those at highest risk are found in the 15 to 24, and 65 + age groups. (Source:

CATEGORIES: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussions are categorized by "Grades," depending on their severity.

Grade One identifies patients who are experiencing comparatively mild symptoms such as "transient confusion, no loss of consciousness and duration of mental status abnormalities" which last less than 15 minutes.

Grade Two is marked by "Transient confusion, no loss of consciousness, concussion symptoms or mental status abnormalities on examination" which lasts more than 15 minutes. Grade Three categorizes victims that have lost consciousness, whether for a short or long period ranging from seconds to minutes.

PREVENTION: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone should take preventative measures to avoid head injuries every day, including:

  • Always wearing a safety belt and avoiding alcohol while driving
  • Always wearing a helmet while biking, playing contact sports, skating, or rollerblading
  • Having vision tested on a regular basis
  • Removing all "Tripping hazards" from the home

For More Information, Contact:

Michael R. Yochelson, MD
Associate Medical Director
Neurological Programs
(202) 877-1686

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