Chris Holgreaves, guest contributor

We have all probably seen our fair share of cartoons. You know the ones in which the main character has some kind of head injury and stars magically float around their heads? Well sadly, real life doesn’t treat children in the same way as this. The side effects of a nasty “bonk” on the head aren’t always as easy to notice as in your favorite cartoon.

Of course, the above might is likely to be fairly amusing in a cartoon; however when it happens for real your young one will probably take a different view. Being knocked out or even feeling dazed for a moment or two can be symptoms of a concussion.

If you are worried about the effects of concussions then this blog post is definitely for you. Here we will be taking a closer look at just what to expect.

Just what is a Concussion?

It would probably make sense to try to understand a little more about what makes a bang on the head a concussion.

The simplest way to think about things is that a concussion occurs when there is a temporary change to the way that the brain operates. Sudden movements or indeed jarring are the most likely reasons for this to occur in children.

In normal conditions the soft tissue of the brain is protected by the blood and spinal fluid that surrounds it. However, when the head receives a blow it can sometimes have the effect of the brain knocking against the bony surface of the skull.

Many concussions only last a relatively short time. But, it should be noted that some can stick around for days, weeks or even longer. Even the shortest of concussions can still be serious.

Warning Signs

Concussion can manifest itself in many different ways. Some of these will include:

  • Vomiting
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Attention difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Headache

The list above isn’t extensive and there are likely to be other possible symptoms. The important thing is to keep a really close eye on your child in the immediate aftermath of a bang to the head. Rest is another key part of the recovery from a concussion.

Rest is Vital

All head injuries will take an element of time to heal; therefore a period of rest is vital. Of course, this isn’t always easy to achieve.

The hardest part is that aside from the noticeable effects that your child might be experiencing there could be other things going on that aren’t seen. Trying to persuade a fanatical sports fan not to take to the football field for a week or so might not be the easiest of tasks. However, nonetheless it is vitally important that rest is administered.

As well as a rest from sporting or physical activities you should also help your child to avoid completing cognitive activities. This means a break from schooling or other academic activities.

Medical Treatment

Doctors are highly skilled when it comes to dealing with and treating head injuries. With this in mind it is essential that you get your child checked out as soon as possible. Very often a few short questions skilfully posed to the patient will allow the doctor a greater understanding of the situation.

In some cases the doctor will ask what seem like routine questions which serve to test the child’s memory functions. Additionally some might even prescribe an element of physical exertion to see how the brain reacts after a work-out.

More precise information can be found by using specialist equipment. One of the best known types is of course a CAT scanner. This machine has the power to take a 3 dimensional x-ray of the brain and can create a wealth of usable information.

Patient Follow-Up

Even after the all clear is given it is usual for a follow up to be scheduled. Only after this time will the doctor be satisfied that there is no lasting damage caused.

One big worry from a concussion is that the child goes out and repeats the injury. This is especially serious if it is happens during the initial healing process. For this reason the doctor will be keen to reinforce the value of making sure the patient gets plenty of rest.


Prior to becoming a professional writer, your author (Chris Holgreaves) worked in a children’s care unit for his local hospital. He recommends the involvement of a specialist case manager wherever possible, especially when dealing with children’s head injuries.