Concussions are a form of mild head injury that, although most often resolving quickly, require immediate recognition of symptoms and careful management. According to a self-reported study in Pediatrics, most pediatric and emergency room physicians feel inadequately trained to perform important neurocognitive testing to assess the degree of head injury in children. Pediatricians were most likely to refer a child with possible concussion to a sports medicine specialist, a neurologist or neuropsychologist. Many primary and emergency physicians lack adequate training or tools to systematically diagnose children with mild head injuries.
Emergency pediatricians generally did not feel it was their role to treat concussions or that they could manage such injuries in an emergency setting. Concussion symptoms that were often not recognized included abnormal eye tracking (17%), difficulty concentrating (11%), vestibular sensitivity (9%), decline in school performance (6%) and sensitivity to light or noise (6%). There are a number of reliable diagnostic tools for physicians to use in assessing mild head injury in both children and adults, such as the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 and the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control website.
Prolonged concussion symptoms can involve physical, cognitive and emotional disability and require diagnosis and management. Children with mild head injury need should be restricted in their school and play activities until such time as the underlying brain injury can heal. Britcher Leone & Roth can help to learn if the failure to diagnosis concussion and/or allowing the resumption of activities prematurely caused permanent brain injury and lifelong disability.