Pediatric sports concussions

Neuropsychologist Peter Stavinoha, PhD, shares advice for parents on sports concussions in children, the signs that your child may have a concussion and how to treat it
Pediatric First Aid - Concussions In Children
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Pediatric sports concussions

One of the most important things for parents to know about pediatric sports concussion is that concussion is considered brain injury. Often times, parents and coaches will under-react to a concussion. They will refer to it as a "ding" or a little blow to the head, and it's no big deal. Parents can often times, over-react though, in where there is a single concussion and the child is held out of sports forever, as a result of that. The reality is really in between. A child has to have time to recover from a concussion. We usually think of anywhere between 10 to 21 days as the time where symptoms are going to go away. Those symptoms would be things like headache and dizziness, sometimes nausea, sleep problems. They can sometimes have difficulty concentrating in school. Depression and anxiety are also not unusual. If the child has enough time to recover from that, then usually after that two to three week period, we will see the symptoms go away and the child is able return back into their sport. In terms of rest, we are looking at two different things. One is we are looking at physical rest. Usually a child will stay home from school for a few days from a concussion, just simply to sleep and let their body rest. We also think of cognitive rest. Things like, reduction of homework or dismissal of homework for a short period of time. We might be talking about a week or so. Also, screen time. Things like television, internet, video games, things that are very highly stimulating to the brain. We usually recommend that children stay off of those things for a couple of weeks, following a concussion.

Neuropsychologist Peter Stavinoha, PhD, shares advice for parents on sports concussions in children, the signs that your child may have a concussion and how to treat it


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Peter Stavinoha, PhD


Peter L. Stavinoha, PhD, ABPP, is a board certified clinical neuropsychologist in Dallas, Texas.  He directs the Neuropsychology Service at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and he is Professor in Psychology/Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He was named Distinguished Psychologist for 2005 by the Dallas Psychological Association. Dr. Stavinoha specializes in the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional aspects of developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury in children. As a general parenting expert, he is regularly interviewed in the media, Dallas morning television, Parents and Parenting Magazines, and numerous parenting blogs. Together with Sara Bridget Au, he is co-author of Stress-Free Potty Training. He has also authored several chapters in scholarly texts on subjects ranging from pediatric concussion to brain tumors in children. Dr. Stavinoha received a BA in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Stavinoha completed a residency in Clinical Neuropsychology at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and is a member of the American Psychological Association, the International Neuropsychological Society, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology. Dr. Stavinoha has a 16-year old son named Joe.

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