Is it just a harmless bump on the head — or something more serious? Our pediatric concussion experts have the experience, equipment and medical know-how to tell the difference. We take a team approach to assess and treat mild traumatic brain injuries and concussions in children of all ages.
A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury that occurs when someone’s brain moves around inside the skull or bangs against it. Although the injury may seem mild, concussions in children can affect health, thinking ability, behavior/mood, school performance and social interactions.
A concussion can be caused by:
- a fall, especially in babies, toddlers and young children
- a sports injury
- a crash involving an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), bike or automobile
- a physical attack, a school fight or child abuse
- any major head trauma, blow to the head
With plenty of rest and reduced activity, kids often recover on their own from a concussion in a week or two. Concussions in other children might require weeks or even months of therapy, rehabilitation, and taking a break from school, sports and other physical and cognitive activities. One of the most important factors for a successful recovery is easing back in to regular activities slowly over time, one activity at a time, with guidance from your health care provider.
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Note: A parent or legal guardian must be with a child for a first visit.
Resources for Patients & Families
A concussion directly involves the brain and can affect how kids feel, behave and function in school. We know concussions can be scary, whether your child is an infant or adolescent. That’s why a Nemours Rehabilitation and Acute Care specialist provides assessment, referrals and treatment of concussions in children twice monthly at Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Vorhees.
For comprehensive concussion care, patients are referred to the Concussion Care team at nearby Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del.
The Concussion Program at duPont Hospital for Children includes team members from multiple specialty areas, including:
Of course, which team members your child sees will depend entirely on your child’s specific age, developmental injury and injury. Our Concussion Program care team will develop a personalized treatment program based on your child’s symptoms and changes in functioning. But in most cases children with concussions just need lots of rest from physical and mental activities before carefully returning to normal activities.
During the recovery time, your child or teen should rest and avoid physical activities including physical education (gym class), competitive or contact sports, exercise, ball sports, weight training, running, recess, bike riding and wheeled activities (to name a few) until cleared by a doctor. Your child may also need to stay away from loud, bright, crowded places and limit activities that require a lot of thinking — including school, work and driving.
Some concussions in children require specialized diagnostic, monitoring and treatment techniques. Rarely, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other radiology (or medical imaging) tests may be needed to check for more severe damage. If so, you can get medical imaging tests at the hospital. Some younger children with concussion may need to be monitored overnight in the hospital.
After your child or teen is injured it’s important to follow up with a health care provider.
Make sure your child is seen by a concussion specialist if your child:
- required an Emergency Department visit or hospitalization
- has symptoms that continue for more than a few days
- has a history of a previous concussion
Under new laws in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, children with concussions are required to have medical clearance from a physician before returning to play.
If you have a young athlete, it’s a good idea to have your child’s brain function measured before an injury occurs.
At Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Voorhees (as well as duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington and Nemours duPont Pediatrics in Newtown Square, Pa.) our Concussion Program team offers ImPACT baseline testing — a tool that measures how well your child’s brain functions under normal conditions (this is called the “baseline”).
Young athletes 10 years and older should have baseline testing done every other year. Although many schools perform baseline testing, having it done at Nemours gives you the best chance that the test will be done in a carefully controlled environment by medically trained technicians. This ensures that the test results will be medically valid for use in case of concussion.
How the Test Works
Baseline testing is performed by a Nemours practitioner who has received special training in administering the test and evaluating the results. The testing requires a brief historical interview to gather information. Your child will sit at a computer and be given a series of questions and tasks, which must be completed in sequence.
The process takes less than an hour. We’ll review the results to ensure they are valid for use later, if needed, and store them in the ImPACT database. If your child has a concussion or other brain injury later, one of our Concussion Program experts will administer a post-injury test and then compare the results with your child’s baseline testing results. That means we’ll be able to compare your child’s brain function before and after the injury.
Cost and Contact Information
Baseline testing costs $12 and is not covered by insurance (payment is due at the time of testing).
To schedule an appointment or learn more about ImPACT baseline testing at Nemours duPont Pediatrics, Voorhees, contact us at (856) 309-8508.