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Why you should take sports concussions seriously

Concussions are serious injuries that should be treated by healthcare providers who are experienced with their management. Sports Medicine physicians diagnose and treat concussions with the goal of promoting a healthy recovery and returning athletes to sports and kids to school. Additionally, we work with parents, athletes, coaches, and other providers to identify the signs and symptoms of a concussion and help to proactively manage the effects.

What is a concussion?

A concussion, also referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury, is an injury to the brain caused by a blow to the head or from a whiplash effect due to a hit to the body. Concussions change the way the brain works and how a person thinks, acts, and feels. Most people do not lose consciousness. Even a "ding" or "bell ringer" can be serious.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Symptoms fall into four categories: physical, cognitive or thinking abilities, mood and behavior, and sleep. A person may have many symptoms or only a couple of symptoms. If a person reports one or more symptoms of concussion or if another person notices the symptoms, keep the person out of play and seek medical attention.

The symptoms of a concussion that fall into each category include:

Increasing Your Child’s Comfort with Nitrous Oxide

You may be familiar with “laughing gas” as something you find at the dentist’s office but did you know it can also be used when your child is a patient at Swedish? Laughing gas is a mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen, but you might hear your pediatric nurses just call it “nitrous.” In pediatrics, we use it to help a patient relax and feel more comfortable during certain procedures such as IV placement or urinary catheterization.

Once your doctor or nurse has determined that your child is a good candidate for nitrous (without any contraindications such as conditions where air may be trapped in the body, pregnancy, or impaired level of consciousness), your nurses and certified child life specialist (CCLS) will explain the process: Your child will choose a flavor for the inside of their mask used to administer the gas. They will be on a stretcher or bed and have a saturation probe attached to a finger to monitor their oxygenation. One nurse will administer oxygen, then the nitrous, gradually increasing the amount until your child is suitably relaxed for the procedure, while remaining responsive to directions. Another clinician will perform the procedure, e.g., place the IV. A doctor is also available.

As a parent ...

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