The new school year is in full swing and so is sports season. As every new season kicks off new concerns arise about kids and concussions. There is still so little known about how concussions can affect the brain long term, but we are learning more every day. And, to that end, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released new guidelines for physicians, coaches, and families to follow when children have suffered a head injury or concussion.
These guidelines were published in early September, and exclusively refer to treatment for mTBI, which stands for mild traumatic brain injury. They’re also the first from the CDC that are specific to mTBI in children.
Using the term “traumatic brain injury” instead of “concussion” tends to make people take these types of injuries more seriously and get children the help they need. The guidelines also call for medical professionals, parents or caregivers, and coaches to work together to ensure any symptoms and behavior are reported.
“The goal of the guideline is to standardize clinical practice and steer clinicians toward what we currently know,” said Matt Breiding, of the Traumatic Brain Injury Team at the C.D.C., as well as a co-author on the guideline.
According to the CDC, every year more than 800,000 children receive care for TBI in emergency rooms nationwide. However, until now, there were no guidelines on pediatric mTBI cases. The CDC bases their guidelines on “the most comprehensive review of the science on pediatric mTBI to date,” using data from 25 years of research.
The five key recommendations
The guidelines include 19 sets of recommendations, but the CDC has highlighted five key guidelines:
- Do not routinely image patients to diagnose mTBI.
- Use validated, age-appropriate symptom scales to diagnose mTBI.
- Assess evidence-based risk factors for prolonged recovery.
- Provide patients with instructions on return to activity customized to their symptoms.
- Counsel patients to return gradually to non-sports activities after no more than 2-3 days of rest.
Deb Houry, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, explained in a CDC news release, “Until today, there was no evidence-based guideline in the United States on pediatric mTBI – inclusive of all causes. Healthcare providers will now be equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure the best outcomes for their young patients who sustain an mTBI.”
If your child has suffered a blow to the head, talk to their doctor and school about these new guidelines. They should always be checked for any symptoms of brain injury before being cleared to return to activity. The CDC has patient and family resources on their website.
Concussions are brain injuries. Ensure your child receives the proper treatment when they are injured. If your child suffered a traumatic brain injury, talk to the lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law today for skilled and compassionate representation. Please call 877-686-8879, or fill out our contact form, and schedule your free consultation with an experienced lawyer at one of our offices in Ohio or Kentucky.