A concussion or mild traumatic brain injury is a type of brain injury caused by a jolt or a blow to the head. It can alter the way the brain works in its normal state. The effects of a concussion are greater for children and adolescents because young brains are still developing. Failure to appropriately diagnose and manage a concussion in a young person can have a significant impact on academic as well as everyday functioning and these effects can be long term.

Concussions can range from mild to severe and symptoms can appear immediately or show up days after initial injury. The duration of symptoms varies for every individual and is influenced by pre-injury actors as well as adherence to treatment guidelines.

Symptoms of a Concussion in Children

Symptoms of a concussion in children can include but are not limited to:

  • Headache
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Visual disturbance (double vision, blurry vision, difficulty looking back and forth, reading difficulty)
  • Difficulty tolerating physical activity
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish or tired
  • Confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble remembering
  • Sleeping disturbance (difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, sleeping too much)
  • Emotional changes (irritability, nervousness, sadness, feeling more emotional)

Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital's Concussion Assessment and Management Program

Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital's Concussion Assessment and Management Program (CAMP) provides evaluations and treatment for both sports-related and non-sports-related pediatric concussions. For each visit, patients will meet with a clinical neuropsychologist and a physical or occupational therapist. The clinical psychologist will administer a battery of tests that are sensitive to the effects of concussion. These findings will be used in developing an appropriate treatment plan which may include referral to other professionals.

MWPH's Concussion Assessment and Management Program is pleased to be able to continue to offer our concussion management services virtually! Families can receive advice on symptom management and recommendations to aid recovery from a recent concussion through a telehealth appointment. Additional follow-up appointments will be scheduled as-needed.

Physical and Occupational Therapy Screening for Concussion

The physical and occupational therapy screening for concussion involves trained individuals in the use of the Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening Assessment (VOMS). Abnormal findings or symptoms may indicate dysfunction, and your child may be referred for a more detailed assessment.

  • Your concussion team will work closely with the child's primary care provider and any other individuals who are involved in the child's care in order to develop the most effective treatment plan.
  • Your concussion team and other professionals involved in the child's care can assist coaches and parents in determining when it is safe for the child to resume their previous level of activity, including a return to sports.
  • We will also work with the child's school and make clear recommendations about what types of accommodations for homework or class schedules a child may need during their period of recovery.

Baseline Assessments

In addition to the assessment and management of a concussion after it occurs, we also offer baseline assessments. The results of baseline testing are used to compare any change in performance that might occur as the result of a concussion.