Study: Some symptoms of brain injury take longer to show

Thousands of children across the Dallas area are involved in youth sports, and that is generally a good thing. Sports teach children many valuable skills, including teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance and healthy living techniques. However, youth sports, especially football, have one significant potential downside: A child who plays them runs the risk of concussion, which is a specific type of traumatic brain injury.

The traditional thinking involving concussions was simply to watch for certain worsening symptoms while waiting for the condition to get better on its own. But a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has shown that for some, recovery from concussions can be a much longer and complicated process than previously believed. 

The study reviewed the medical records of more than 200 children and young adults who had received pediatric treatment for concussions. The children were monitored until all symptoms had completely subsided. The most common mental symptoms were difficulty concentrating and slow thinking, although other effects such as headache, dizziness, and fatigue were also observed. Both the physical and mental symptoms generally began right after the injury-causing incident. But while the majority of children saw complete recovery within two weeks, about 20 percent continued to experience headaches and fatigue for up to a month after the incident.

The study showed that emotional symptoms, by contrast, did not present themselves in many of the children right away, but that frustration, irritability, and other emotional complications developed later on. This can be a problem because without proper detection, emotional symptoms that develop later may be missed or mistaken for typical teenage mood swings and irritability, and therefore misdiagnosed and mistreated.

Brain injuries at any age and stemming from any type of collision can be devastating. Many victims require intensive and ongoing medical treatment to cope with the damage suffered, whether it is emotional, physical or mental. It is important to remember that when traumatic brain injuries occur as the result of negligence, the victim may be entitled to compensation. Money cannot undo an accident, but it can help victims recover from the accident and get the treatment they require as a result of their injuries.


WFAA, “Concussion symptoms continue long after injury,” May 19, 2014