Children and Concussion - When in Doubt, Sit it Out!

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead has launched an awareness campaign on the signs and symptoms of concussion after an alarming increase in child sports concussions.

Sport related concussion rates in children have risen by 60% in the past decade. Six children a week are presenting with a concussion to our Emergency Departments and for every one of them there are 15 or more children whose injury goes unrecognised or untreated.

If a concussion occurs during sport or play your child should stop playing immediately. An alarming 20% of children seen at our Concussion Clinic were not taken out of play when they showed signs of concussion and as our campaign states– when in doubt, sit it out!  A child doesn’t need to be knocked out to have concussion with most concussion injuries not involving any loss of consciousness.

Sports with the highest rates of concussion for boys are football (rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules), soccer, cycling and trampoline while girls present with injuries from soccer, netball, equestrian and trampoline.

Only one in ten children with a concussion will lose consciousness so parents and coaches should be on the lookout for warning signs which could appear immediately  after a bump to the head or body over the following hours and days. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Confused or dazed
  • Memory loss
  • Headache or ‘pressure’ in the head
  • Nausea/vomiting or stomach ache
  • Dizziness and/or loss of balance
  • Feeling tired or drowsy
  • Blurry/double vision
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Feeling more emotional/sad/nervous

Posters and fact sheets with more information available at www.sitoutconcussion.org.au

The concussion campaign was produced by Kids Health and CHISM at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (part of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network) with funding from NSW Kids and Families.