Importance for Parents to Accurately Identify Concussion in Children

Written by Dr. Marcus Wong


A recent research study was done by Dr. Craig J Coghlin, Dr. Bryan D Myles, and Dr. Scott D Howitt to assess the ability of parents/guardian identifying concussion symptoms in their children from sports injuries.

Child-Concussion-Head-InjuryThe study was done with parents/guardians of Bantam-aged minor hockey league athletes volunteered fro the study.  These children were age 13-14 years old.  The outcome measures were the ability to recognize different signs and symptoms listed on the Sport Concussion Assessment Tools (SCAT) as well as 8 detractors consisting of signs and symptoms not associated with post concussive syndrome.  Additional questions assessing the parents’ knowledge of concussion management and recognition abilities were also posed.

In conclusion of this investigation showed that there is still a disconnect in regards to key components of recognizing a concussion in the children.  The mothers/females of the study displayed better ability to better differentiate between true and false signs and symptoms of concussion compared to the fathers/males.

~ Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association/December 2009/Vol. 53/No.4

This is an astonishing study that shows that majority of the parents/guardians don’t know how to correctly identify a concussion in their children, but at the same time still allow their children to participate in physical sports such as hockey, basketball, and football.

Some basic things to look for are

  • if your child is unconscious
  • abnormal breathing
  • obvious serious wound or fracture
  • bleeding or clear fluid from the nose, ear, or mouth
  • disturbance of speech or vision
  • pupils of unequal size
  • weakness or paralysis
  • dizziness
  • neck pain or stiffness
  • seizure
  • vomiting more than two to three times
  • loss of bladder or bowel control

Child-InjuriesIf your child have any of the symptoms above contact your doctor or call an ambulance immediately, and don’t try to move your child as this may cause further damages.

If the child doesn’t have the above symptoms, monitor them for 24-48 hours for any abnormality.  If they have difficulty with sleep, disorientation symptoms, and emotional irritability contact your doctor.

The importance of treating concussion at the very beginning stages are crucial as some concussions may lead to death or disability in the child.  Therefore, this is an immediate medical emergency and be treated as soon as possible.

Keep in mind the above tips are the minimal, if you are unsure of anything contact your doctor immediately.

If you have any questions please contact Dr. Marcus Wong at