Common Parent Reactions to Concussions &
3 Ways Parents Can Help Concussion Recovery
Written by: Codi Isaac, PT, Concussion Physiotherapist
Date: June 2, 2019
Something I have found from years of working with young athletes and their parents is the tendency for parents to respond from one of two extremes when it comes to their child’s concussion injury.
Either a parent will be overly cautious with their child’s recovery program and will limit all activity for a longer period of time than is necessary with the belief that this will help recovery.
A parent will dismiss signs and symptoms of a concussion and will encourage their child to return to their sport too quickly.
The root of both extremes is a lack of good, evidence-based information.
The key as a parent is to get educated with the right information about concussion.
It’s an ever advancing field. In fact, a quick search of PubMed (an open source journal research database) showed there were 1,618 research articles published since the beginning of 2018 on the topic of concussion.
Part of the challenge with sorting through the information as a parent is knowing what information to trust. There are companies that provide products and services relating to concussion with a vested interest in producing information that supports the value of their products or services.
It can be hard as a parent to know what information to trust.
Shift your understanding
As a parent it’s important to shift focus from fear around concussions to an understanding that is informed by the latest research and clinical insights.
This shift will help you respond with confidence should your child experience a concussion and will make the experience much less stressful for the entire family.
As a parent, you may feel your role would be limited if your child experiences a concussion.
But I would suggest otherwise.
3 Important Ways Parents Can Help Consussion Recovery
I believe that parents play a significant role in their child’s recovery in 3 important ways.
First off, as a parent you are the primary decision maker when it comes to who to see for your child’s treatment.
With the increased awareness around concussion in sport, there has been an increase in the number of healthcare providers who are providing concussion services.
Unfortunately there is no governing body certifying whether a healthcare provider meets any minimum standards for treating concussions.
This means it’s a bit of the wild west out there. Knowing the health care provider selection criteria is very important.
Second, as a parent you are intimately aware of your child’s norms regarding mood, behaviour and sleeping patterns. This is something that a healthcare provider or coach will not be aware of to the same degree as you.
This awareness can help when evaluating concussion injury recovery, return to sport readiness, etc.
Finally, a key role as a parent is one of coach and support for your child. You can be a key source of encouragement and guidance for your child as they recover from their concussion.
A parent can also provide guidance and support with pacing - both physical activity pacing, and mental activity pacing (e.g. school work).
As I mentioned earlier, it's important to get the right information regarding concussion prevention and treatment.
And I’d like to now share with you the key problems with relying on Dr. Google for concussion information.
Here are some of the organizations Codi is involved with:
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