I was sitting in the waiting room at UCLA recently and picked up the current edition of Physicians Update. There was a fascinating article about concussions and athletes. But I realized that athletes are not the only ones who get bumped in the head. Many of the children I test for auditory processing disorders had a “concussion” or a good hit to the head during their formative years.

One of the misconceptions about concussion is that unless the individual loses consciousness, it isn’t a concussion. NOT TRUE. The main symptom for most concussions is a headache. According to this article, symptoms can also include dizziness, balance problems, nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights or sounds, feeling “foggy” and slow to respond to questions, and looking or acting confused. Serious concussions can bring on amnesia related to the event that caused it, memory problems and emotionality.

Symptoms can be delayed. That was a surprise to me.

Although many concussive symptoms resolve spontaneously over 7-14 days, the recommended behavior is the same for both adults and children. Physical activity should be avoided as well as cognitive tasks. Activities such as playing video games or games with handheld devices may actually aggravate symptoms and this may slow recovery. According to the article, children recovering from a concussion may even need to reduce their class work or obtain academic support.

So getting banged on the head is not just exclusive to athletes and should be taken more seriously by all of us, whether adults or children.