Concussion is one of the most commonly sustained injuries by children and teenagers when they are at camp. Therefore it is important that camps not only have specific requirements and guidelines to prevent traumatic brain injuries but also have a medical staff that is trained to recognize and treat concussions.
In regards to prevention, camps should always make sure that children wear proper helmets for activities involving motorized vehicles as well as activities such as skate boarding and skating. Helmets also have to be mandatory when kids are involved in adventure activities such as climbing, spelunking or zip lining. Children should also wear a helmet when bike riding as well as when horseback riding including pony riding.
Despite actively preventing concussions, accidents still happen and the camp medical team has to be ready. The camp medical staff has to be able to recognize and evaluate a concussion sustained by a camp goer. After the camp clinician properly evaluates the young patient, he will have to communicate not only with the child but also with the parents to assure a proper recovery.
Immediately after a traumatic brain injury occurs, camp clinicians must make sure that the camper takes a break from noisy, busy and crowded activities. Contact activities and any games involving a ball should be avoided. Activities such as drawing are more suitable.
As the camper recovers, he or she should start again to participate in social activities but for limited amounts of time with frequent breaks. Some moderate cardio activities that do not involve contacts can be re-introduced to the camper list of activities step by step.
Cognitive activities such as reading and video games should only be re-introduced after the young patient is able to participate in regular daily camp activities. At this point highly aerobic activities can also be practiced again but contact sports should be avoided for the rest of the camp.
Liaison with parents is critical. When a child gets hurts far from home he often misses his or her parents even more. On the other side parents often become overly worried as they are unable to be there in person to provide support for their children. It is the role of the clinic physician to make sure communication is fluid between all the parties involved.
Read more about it in the latest blog from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP
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