UCLA Health survey finds parents may be making children's concussions worse

When a child suffers a concussion it's bad enough, but a surprising new survey finds many parents may be making it worse. 

A new national survey by UCLA Health reveals many parents don't always act on professional advice.

"Getting proper advice about how to manage your activity early on reduces the likelihood by 15-20 percent of whether or not you develop post-concussion syndrome,” said Dr. Christopher Giza, a pediatric neurologist at UCLA Health. 

Kennedy Dierk is a high school soccer player. She suffered a concussion after bumping heads with another player. 

“It just progressively got worse and worse and worse throughout the week," Dierk said.

She had developed post-concussion syndrome.

"It was a longer road back than we thought, it was a good two to three months before the headache dissipated,” Dierk said.  

If a child shows symptoms of a concussion after one week, more than three in four parents say they're likely to wake their child up throughout the night. Something Giza says can make matters worse. 

"Their headache is going to be worse, their memory's going to be worse, their mood's going to be worse. All those things that we monitor for concussion will get worse if we don't let them sleep," Giza said.

The survey also found 84 percent of parents would make kids refrain from any physical activity. However, Giza says if the injury is stable and the activity is safe, kids should exercise after the first few days.

He also said they should remain social. More than half of parents were likely to take away electronic devices, but that's not always necessary. Giza says the sooner kids can focus on their lives and less on their symptoms, the faster they can heal.

But he notes, if your child's concussion symptoms linger for more than two weeks without improving, you may want to see a specialist.

It's estimated some 2 million children will be treated in emergency rooms this year for sports-related concussions.  

Any given Sunday, an NFL player is rocked by a brutal tackle or collision. Concussions are traumatic brain injuries caused by a bump or jolt to the brain. 

Although football is certainly where we see the majority of concussion-related injuries, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, says girls who play soccer are at nearly the same risk as boys who play football.