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Your child’s doctor will ask questions about the injury, as well as what happened afterwards. He or she will also ask whether your child has had concussions before. It is very important to tell your doctor if this is not the first concussion.
Your doctor may test balance, coordination, vision, and memory to assess the brain's ability to function normally. Many times, other tests are not needed. Sometimes your doctor may order a CT or MRI scan.
Some teams also use computerized testing to measure an athlete’s mental performance after a hit. This test result can be compared to pre-season test results, when available, to see if there is a difference.
The most important part of concussion treatment is rest. This includes brain rest as well as physical rest. Your child will slowly return to normal activities when symptoms are better. Some activities that require concentration may make symptoms worse—this includes homework, video games, and reading. Improvement in younger athletes may take a couple of weeks or more.
Returning to play after concussion must be a slow, steady process. The athlete must first be completely without symptoms, both during rest and with normal daily activities. He or she then may start a slow, step-wise return to activity. The athlete must be symptom-free at each step before going on to the next one.
Returning to play before the brain has healed can have dangerous consequences. A second hit to an injured brain can cause long-term damage, and in some cases, death.
It is recommended that a young athlete with a concussion is seen and cleared by a doctor, with training in concussion management, before returning to sports.
Proper equipment should be worn, and safe technique and rules should be followed. However, no rule or equipment is concussion-proof. Coaches, trainers, and parents should know about the signs of concussion. They should recognize signs of concussions and remove athletes when a concussion is suspected.