A recent study from the emergency medicine division at Boston Children’s Hospital revealed that emotional and mental symptoms of a concussion, such as frustration and irritability, show up much later in children and can linger long after the physical symptoms fade. For the study, researchers used questionnaires to keep track of 235 children and young adults, aged 11 to 22 years, who suffered a concussion and went to a pediatric emergency department. The patients were followed for 3 months after injury or until all symptoms were gone.

During this time, patients were asked about sports activity, symptoms, and school and athletic performance. Participants had common physical symptoms, including headache and fatigue, as well as mental symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and taking longer to think. The authors of the study noted that for many, emotional symptoms, such as irritability and frustration, were not as common right after the injury but developed later.

Lead researcher Matthew Eisenberg, MD, states, “Patients and their families should expect the physical symptoms that they experience after a head injury to get better over the next few weeks, but that emotional symptoms may come on later, even as the physical symptoms subside.”

Eisenberg adds, “Only by knowing what symptoms can be expected after a concussion can we help reassure patients and families that what they experience is normal, know when to seek additional help, and make sure that children are taking appropriate precautions in regard to school and sports to achieve a full recovery.”

John Kuluz, MD, of Miami Children’s Hospital, says, “It takes longer than people think to fully recover from a concussion.” For concussion treatment, Kuluz recommends physical and mental rest, in addition to treating the symptoms of the concussion. The physician also recommends physical therapy to help children recover, which can include working on balance and helping with vision problems. In addition, Kuluz suggests delaying a child’s return to sports until all symptoms disappear.

Source: Health Day