“Concussion Goggles” to Aid Kids in Identifying the Signs and Symptoms of Mild TBIs
Until you have experienced a brain injury, it can be difficult to understand how it can feel to sustain a concussion. We can read medical information about the signs and symptoms that may be present, but we cannot know what it feels like to experience a bump, blow, or a jolt to the head that results in a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). If we could know what a concussion—which is one form of mild TBI—feels like, would more of us seek medical attention quickly in order to limit the lasting effects of this kind of head trauma? According to a recent report from CBS News, a new technology is aimed at demonstrating for kids just what it feels like to have a concussion.
What is this new technology? The article describes these “concussion goggles,” which can help students to “learn how it feels to walk after suffering a brain injury.” Given that about one-third of all athletes have sustained a concussion that ultimately goes undiagnosed, it is extremely important for kids to have a sense of the impact of a TBI. Karen McAvoy, who serves as the Director of Psychology at the Center for Concussion, spoke about the “concussion goggles” and their potential impact on TBI treatment.
As McAvoy explains, “coaches and athletics trainers are not always on the sidelines.” As such, persons trained in identifying the signs and symptoms of concussions may not be around when student athletes need them the most. Therefore, “what we really want,” McAvoy articulated, “is for kids to recognize [concussions] in their own teammates and in their classmates.”
How can youth athletes recognize symptoms of a mild TBI? If they know what it feels like, they might be able to acknowledge that a friend or teammate is having such an experience. For example, what symptoms do the concussion goggles simulate specifically? One student who experienced the technology described its effects: “Distorted vision. I feel kind of dizzy, and my balance is kind of offset.”
Get the Facts: Concussions and Mild TBIs in Children
What do you need to know about concussions? According to a pamphlet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), family members and friends should recognize that concussion symptoms can fall into four relatively broad categories:
- Thinking and/or remembering difficulties;
- Emotional and/or mood; and
- Sleep disturbances.
As such, any changes that a loved one shows in the hours or even days after experiencing a bump or a jolt to the head should be taken seriously as a potential sign of a concussion. In young children, however, it can be more difficult to identify the signs and symptoms of a concussion. The CDC recommends seeking medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms in your child:
- Crying (that strikes you as unusual);
- Persistent headache;
- Changes in school performance;
- Changes in playtime performance or interaction with peers;
- Changes in the way they eat or sleep;
- Easily upset or angry;
- Lack of interest in typical activities;
- Loss of balance; and
- Attention difficulty.
If your child suffered a concussion, contact an experienced brain injury attorney to discuss your situation.