How Concussions Affect Teens Differently Than Adults
Concussions are a type of brain injury that can happen to anyone, but they may have more serious consequences for teens than for adults. In this article, you will learn how concussions affect teens differently than adults, what symptoms to look out for, and how to help your teen recover from a concussion.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the head is hit by a forceful impact, such as a ball, a fist, or the ground. The impact causes the brain to move inside the skull, which can damage the brain cells and disrupt their normal functioning. A concussion can cause temporary or permanent changes in the brain, depending on the severity and location of the injury.
How are concussions different for teens than for adults?
According to a recent report by WebMD Health News, teens experience many of the same symptoms of concussions as adults, such as headaches, dizziness, visual disturbances, light and sound sensitivity, mood and cognitive problems, fatigue, and nausea. However, these symptoms may be worse and last longer for teens than for adults.
One of the reasons for this difference is that teens are going through puberty and rapid brain development, which makes them more vulnerable to the effects of a concussion. Their brains are not fully mature yet and are still forming new connections and pruning old ones. A concussion can interfere with this process and affect their learning, memory, and emotional regulation.
Another reason is that girls tend to have more severe symptoms and a longer recovery than boys after a concussion. This may be because girls generally have less neck strength than boys, which allows for more head movement and brain damage following an impact. Girls may also have more hormonal fluctuations that affect their brain chemistry and healing.
What are some examples of teens who suffered from concussions?
One example is Layla Blitzer, a 17-year-old high school junior in New York City, who was playing field hockey for her school last October and was hit hard by the ball above her eye. She sustained a serious concussion that caused her severe headaches and neck issues for months. She also had trouble with school work, screen time, and noise stimulation.
Layla’s story illustrates how concussions can affect teens’ academic performance and social life. She had to miss school for weeks and rely on tutors and special accommodations to catch up with her studies. She also had to limit her exposure to bright lights, loud sounds, and digital devices that could worsen her symptoms. She felt isolated from her friends and activities that she enjoyed before.
Another example is David Wang, MD, head team doctor at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT, who suffered from multiple concussions as a teen athlete. He said that his concussions affected his mood and personality, making him more irritable and depressed. He also had difficulty concentrating and remembering things.
David’s story shows how concussions can affect teens’ mental health and well-being. He said that he did not receive proper diagnosis or treatment for his concussions at the time, which may have contributed to his long-term problems. He now advocates for better awareness and care for concussions among young athletes.
How can you help your teen recover from a concussion?
If your teen has a concussion, here are some steps you can take to help them recover:
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. A doctor can diagnose the concussion and rule out any other serious injuries. They can also prescribe medication or therapy to ease the symptoms and monitor the recovery process.
- Follow the doctor’s advice on rest and activity. Your teen may need to take some time off from school, sports, or other physical or mental activities that could strain their brain or increase their risk of another concussion. They may also need to gradually resume their normal routine as their symptoms improve.
- Support your teen emotionally and academically. Your teen may feel frustrated, anxious, or depressed about their condition and its impact on their life. Listen to their feelings and offer encouragement and reassurance. You may also need to communicate with their teachers or counselors about their needs and accommodations. You may also consider seeking professional counseling or support groups for your teen if they are struggling emotionally.
- Prevent future concussions. You can help your teen avoid another concussion by making sure they wear appropriate protective gear, such as helmets, when playing sports or riding bikes. You can also educate them about the signs and dangers of concussions and encourage them to report any symptoms or injuries to you or a coach.
The Bottom Line
Concussions are a serious brain injury that can affect teens differently than adults. They can cause more severe and lasting symptoms that can interfere with their physical, mental, and social development. If your teen has a concussion, you can help them recover by seeking medical attention, following the doctor’s advice, supporting them emotionally and academically, and preventing future concussions. By doing so, you can help your teen heal and thrive after a concussion. 🙌
- Teens Heal Differently Than Adults After Concussion by Batya Swift Yasgur, MA.
- U.S. Faces Severe Shortage of Some Drugs, Senate Report Says by Jay Croft.
- Brain Diseases by WebMD.