How to prevent brain and spinal cord injuries before they occur

By Laura Wilner, MD

It’s summertime, and the livin’ may be easy, but that doesn’t mean parents can let their defenses down when it comes to their children’s health and safety. Quite the opposite, since the rate of accidents increases as the weather gets warmer.

The myriad of ways kids can be injured, sometimes seriously and permanently, is longer than can be detailed here. While children still break arms and legs, they also suffer spinal cord and brain injuries that can require acute inpatient rehabilitation and long-term outpatient therapy that offer no guarantee of a complete recovery. Better than 50% of pediatric spinal cord injuries are accompanied by some level of paralysis and even the mildest brain injuries can significantly impact a child’s ability to perform daily activities and master tasks at school.

Concussions are brain injuries, as are those incidents that are sometimes described in ways that make them seem more like minor annoyances. Someone “getting their bell rung,” “seeing stars,” or “feeling woozy” are all indications of a potentially more significant problem. Those who have been concussed will also exhibit some or all of the following, depending on the severity of the injury:

  • Trouble paying attention or concentrating on a task
  • Persistent headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Lack of balance
  • Excessive fatigue


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