Guest Post by: Jennifer Hannon – University of Washington School of Nursing
You’re at your teen’s high school on a Saturday morning watching the big soccer game. Your child goes up for a header and clashes with a member of the opposing team and they both go down. There’s a pause, but eventually your child gets back up and continues playing. During half time, your child tells the coach that he has a headache and the coach does a field side concussion test. The results: your child has a concussion.
A concussion is not just a temporary headache; it is a traumatic brain injury that can cause short term and long lasting effects in school, at work, at home, and in relationships. According to the Center for Brain Health, “depending on the size and location of the injury [traumatic brain injury], cognitive deficits and behavioral issues often emerge1.” Some of these long lasting issues can include memory problems, lack of inhibition, increased anger, increased agitation, personality changes, lack of concentration, problems with organization and problem solving, and language difficulties1. These are not problems that your child needs or wants while trying to play sports, get good grades, and get into college, especially if it is preventable.
Some tips to preventing a concussion during sports according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)2:
The CDC says that your child should always wear a well-fitting helmet during contact sports such as football, ice hockey, boxing, lacrosse; as well as when skating, playing baseball, snowboarding, horseback riding, skiing, and sledding.
Always play by the rules of the sport.
Practice good sportsmanship.
If you have a concussion or suspect you may have one, do not return to play until you have been evaluated and given permission by your doctor in order to prevent further injury and possibly even death.
How to recognize a concussion, some symptoms include2:
Headache, nausea, vomiting, clumsiness, dizziness, blurry vision, feeling tired, sensitivity to light and noise, and numbness or tingling.
Irritability, sadness, anxiety, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating/focusing, difficulty remembering things, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
If you suspect you or your child has a concussion visit your primary care provider to find out how to best heal from this injury, when it is safe to return to sports and school, and how to prevent it from happening again. Without proper healing time and treatment, the chance of a repeat concussion and severe injury from such is drastically increased. Help you and your child, keep an eye out for preventing a concussion.
Let’s walk through a common scenario of a college freshman coming home for break.
You are so excited that your teen is coming home for the long holiday weekend. It has been several months since you dropped them off at college and you have a bursting schedule of exciting events and family get-togethers planned. When your teen comes home, they head straight to their old room, dump off their laundry and then call old friends. Before you know it they are heading out for the night without any consideration for the big dinner you planned. You wonder, “do they even want to spend time with the family??!”
Chances are if you have a teen in college, you have experienced this. College students are commonly referred to as “boomerangs”-coming in and out of the house, sometimes leaving no trace except dirty socks and dishes. This can be very frustrating and confusing, but there a few things you can do to prepare for such transient homecomings. So how can you make the most of the time your newly independent teen has at home? Read full post »
When talking with your teen about making the transition to college, we often focus on the positive, as it is definitely an amazing life changing event. You want your teen to successfully adapt in making more responsible choices, while remaining safe and protected inside the walls of a college campus. However, there is a very important topic that often gets missed in that crucial time before they start classes. That is the subject of campus crimes and security. I am not writing this to send you running to lock your teen in their room, ensuring their safety by never letting them out and feeding them through the door! This post is meant to open the dialogue between you and your teen about personal safety.
College campuses were once thought of as “Ivory Towers”, protected from the dangerous individuals and violent acts of the rest of the world. It is the hope that every student has an affirmative college experience, but we know from numerous stories and statistics that is not always the case. So how can you find out about the safety of the college campuses your teen is looking at? Its actually easier then you think, but that was not always the case. It is important to respect the history and personal tragedy that allows us to access this information so readily today. Read full post »
“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
In the part of this series, I will go into a little further into the details of visiting a campus and what you need to have ready from a health standpoint. If you and your teen are still finding yourself stuck on where to even start looking to apply, you can refer back to the previous post.
Now that you and your teen have decided on what campuses to visit (great job by the way, that can be the toughest part!), it is time to discuss what is often the most exciting part for your teen…the tour. A campus tour is a great way to become familiar with the institution, not only for the physical elements, but also for the health resources offered. It is important for your teen to have a support system on campus of caring professionals that can offer assistance if needed. Read full post »
“There are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings.”
As summer winds to an end, one of the most exciting times for a teen is figuring out what they are going to do after high school graduation. The last year in high school can be filled with both anticipation and anxiety, and as a parent it can be a difficult task to help them navigate the momentous next steps along a path filled with opportunity. College might not be right for all, but if you and your teen think it might be a good fit, you should know about all the options out there. First of all, take a deep breath…you and your teen will get through this! Here are a few tips to help you get started and make the big unknown of the college universe a little clearer.
There are more options now then the traditional 4 year college, and each one can have unique differences to help everyone obtain an education no matter their life situation or learning style. Read full post »
A note from Dr. Evans: I often find myself discussing life plans with my patients. Some teens have no clue what to do after high school, others are set on going to medical school (eventually), some just want to work, and some think they may want to join the military. In this series, I’ve asked guest authors to talk a bit about some of the options available. This is not an all inclusive list at all and if readers have topics they’d like discussed, please add those ideas in the comments.
We’ll start with some general options in the first post, then go on to discuss more details about the different between university, college, and community college in the coming posts of this series.
Guest Author: Emily Winn – University of Washington School of Nursing
Over the summer, we’re continuing to highlight positive opportunities available to teens. I had the privilege of interviewing a representative from Girls on the Run, an amazing program that promotes physical activity and so much more for teen girls. Though this interview is with a representative from outside of Washington State, she gives an excellent overview of the program. Information about the Puget Sound chapter can be found here and at the very end of the post.
What is Girls on the Run? What is it’s mission?
Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program (PA-PYD) designed to develop and enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experience. The mission of Girls on the Run St. Louis is to empower girls for a lifetime of healthy living. Our program for girls in the 3rd through 8th grades inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
The 20-lesson Girls on the Run curriculum combines training for a 5k (3.1 miles) running event with lessons that inspire girls to become independent thinkers, enhance their problem solving skills and make healthy decisions. All of this is accomplished through an active collaboration with girls and their parents, schools, volunteers, staff, and the community. Read full post »
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently released a policy statement on food in schools emphasizing a “whole nutrition” approach to food that is consumed in school. This could include breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks. The writers point out that there have already been changes in school lunches to make cafeteria food more nutritious, but lunches that students bring to school might not meet healthy standards. Having healthy, nutritious meals throughout the school day is essential for concentration in class and performance in sports and gym class. How can parents help teens eat healthy at school?
Last week we posted about time management as teens headed back to school. You and your teen are getting back into the swing of things with squeezing in breakfast, scheduling time for homework, family time, and friends. In this post we’ll talk a bit about sports and sleep. We’ve had great guest posts on preventing sports injuries, like concussion, and we’ve posted about sleep tips before. Here are some highlights to take with you as the school year begins: Read full post »
Right now you may be focusing on getting your teen settled into college life and the Holidays are months away, yet Thanksgiving and Winter break are just around the corner. Dr. Cora Breuner offers tips for time with your teen when they are home for the holidays.
Seattle Children’s provides healthcare for the special needs of children regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex (gender), sexual orientation or disability. Financial assistance for medically necessary services is based on family income and hospital resources and is provided to children under age 21 whose primary residence is in Washington, Alaska, Montana or Idaho.