A young girl grabbing her head in pain.

Whether it's a minor bump or a serious impact, no blow to the head should be taken lightly. Any visible mark or knot rarely indicates the severity of the internal "whiplash" of the brain that has occurred. And the short- or long-term effects of untreated or undertreated concussions can be wide ranging and include complications that affect thinking, sensation, language or emotions and may ultimately result in behavior or personality changes.

Marshall Neuroscience's Pediatric Concussion Clinic was established in response to the rising number of concussions in children and the critical importance of early diagnosis and treatment in achieving a successful outcome. Children and teens with suspected concussion undergo a full evaluation by both a general pediatrician and a pediatric neurologist, including:

  • a thorough physical exam
  • a complete review of injuries and symptoms
  • a neurological evaluation to assess motor skills, vision, mental status and other functions
  • imaging, such as a CT scan or MRI, if indicated

The results of the evaluation are shared and discussed by both physicians. Combining the perspectives a general pediatrician and a pediatric neurologist provides a more comprehensive assessment of the child's condition, which leads to a more comprehensive plan of care. Depending upon the severity of the concussion, your child's individual care plan may include consultation and/or treatment from rehabilitation specialists.

Children and teens may take longer to recover after a concussion compared to adults, and they also may experience greater severity of symptoms and more neurological disturbances. The frontal lobes of the human brain continue to develop until age 25, so  it is vital to manage pediatric concussions very carefully to ensure optimal neurological development and outcomes. Just as an injured muscle needs time and rest to heal, so does the injured brain. The doctor may limit activities for your child during recovery, and it is very important to follow the doctor's instructions. Children and teens with a suspected concussion should not return to sports or recreational activities until a healthcare professional approves their participation.

The Pediatric Concussion Clinic takes place weekly at Marshall Neuroscience on the campus of Cabell Huntington Hospital. A physician's referral is not necessary. For an appointment or more information, please call 304.691.1787.