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Kids and concussions: What to keep in mind

Back to school means to back to sports for many, and it's a good time for parents and coaches to be thinking about - and watching out for - concussions. In a recent Q&A from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, two experts offer ways to reduce the effects of a concussion, provide guidance on when an affected player can get back on the field, and remind readers about sex differences in symptoms. Stanford's Paul Fisher, MD, chief of pediatric neurology at Packard Children's, says:

Girls and boys tend to report different symptoms of a concussion and may also describe the same symptoms differently. Boys often report symptoms that are fairly severe – confusion, bad headaches, forgetting – while girls may report milder symptoms, such as drowsiness, malaise, or noise sensitivity. But that doesn’t mean a girl’s concussion is any less severe.

A big problem here is that when a girl reports milder symptoms to a male coach – and a lot of coaches in girls’ sports are male – her concussion could be missed if the coach isn’t alert to the differences in how boys and girls report symptoms.

Previously: Study shows concussion recovery may take longer for female, younger athletes, Report finds brain injuries rising among high school football players, Can high-tech helmets safeguard young athletes against concussions?, Study suggests teens are more vulnerable to effects of sport-related concussions, Should parents worry about their kids playing football? and A conversation with Daniel Garza about football and concussions

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