Concussion and Kids: Double Impact

FRESNO, Calif.

High-schooler Chloe Jeng got a wicked wrist shot. But a shot to her head during a club lacrosse game is what ruined her season.

"I actually kept playing because I had the ball and I didn't really think anything had happened," Chloe Jeng told Ivanhoe.

But something had, a concussion, which put Chloe on the bench for months. One million kids suffer similar concussions each year.

"I mostly just wanted to get back in the game and start playing again," Jeng said.

It's good she didn't. 80 percent of all concussion cases are diagnosed as mild, but 75 percent of patients don't seek medical help unless their condition gets worse.

"You can't take sports away from everybody … you can't take being in or near a motor vehicle away from everybody," Michael Yochelson, M.D., at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC, said.

Doctor Michael Yochelson says spotting brain injuries are key, with the biggest tip-off being failure to remember the injury, but there are others.

"Symptoms to look for include headache, dizziness, nausea and trouble thinking," Dr. Yochelson added.

One concussion, then another too soon, could lead to second impact syndrome, which could lead to death.

Sadly, 40 percent of prep athletes return from concussions before they're fully healed.

Not Chloe, who sat out all lacrosse season.

"It was kind of rough at first, but it was definitely worth it," Jeng said.

Now she's thinking about picking up her old ice hockey stick next year.

"You just want to play as hard as you can, you don't really think about it anymore," Jeng said.

Her rules now are to have fun, but know when to slow down. Listen up parents, while "second impact syndrome" is rare, it occurs most often in children and teens. The best remedy for someone who may have had a concussion is rest and a trip to the doctor.

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

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