With kids, young and old, all out of school there is plenty of time and good weather for sports, recreation, and travel. We need to be cautious with our fun, just a little, to avoid potentially long term problems. That is truly the issue, who wants to think about head injuries as your heading to the pool or out for a game of softball? Since the 1970′s when I grew up, though, times have changed. Kids now wear helmets when they ride bikes, and sit in carseats til they’re 10 or so? I remember, but won’t go in to detail, riding on what was essentially the hood of my dad’s car while he drove 30 mph down our street. Boy, it was fun. We blasted Fleetwood Mac, the wind racing through our hair… those times are over, though. Car seats, seat belts, all this safety. But we, as a society, decided to make these changes because we knew the tragedy of losing a young healthy vital person for no reason. Now, all kids wear helmets when riding bikes, and they are getting more and more common on the ski slopes too. Why? Because even though we all want to feel the wind in our hair, we know better. We don’t want the tragedy to be our own loved ones, or our own selves. When this all started, everyone was upset. But we got used to it as a society, and now we all do it. I, for one, rebelled against seatbelts for a few years. Now, I feel naked without one.
So, back to summertime fun and concussions. We need to think about it, talk about it, know about it. Fatal brain injuries are tragic, and thankfully uncommon. Concussions are surprisingly common, and surprisingly dismissed. Yet, concussion can be downright dangerous, and can lead to long term consequences for our brains. We neurologists have some idea about the consequences in adults, and still don’t understand many of the consequences in children. In adults, concussions can lead to headaches, memory loss, mood changes, depression, dizziness, balance problems, impaired concentration, and more.
Think about safety and your brain. Protect it. You might need it one day. (or tomorrow.) If you get a concussion, stop doing what you’re doing, rest, and contact your doctor.