Concussion treatment in Palm Beach County

The Children's Hospital at Palms West is proud to offer advanced concussion treatment to our community. Whether it's a sports-related injury or caused by a fall or accident, we are here to evaluate and treat quickly. The primary goal of our program is to return patients to activities in the safest condition possible and to educate families and coaches about concussions.

Baseline neurocognitive testing

The Children's Hospital at Palms West has partnered with local schools and recreational sports teams to provide ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) baseline testing for their athletes prior to receiving a concussion.

With ImPACT, student athletes are given computerized neurocognitive tests before the sports season to measure their normal, healthy level of cognitive function. Memory, information processing and reaction time are measured objectively.

If the athlete sustains a concussion, then neurocognitive tests are given again. The second test's results are compared to the first test's results to determine the impact of the concussion. This process allows each athlete to have an individual plan for their safe return to playing sports.

Symptoms of a concussion

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 7 in 10 young athletes have reported playing while experiencing symptoms of a concussion. Untreated, concussions can lead to severe brain injury. The majority of young athletes recover from concussions, but recovery can be complicated. Athletes who are not fully recovered from an initial concussion are at higher risk for receiving a second. When a child has a second concussion before the first is fully recovered, significant cognitive and behavioral changes can occur. The second concussion can leave the child at risk for second-impact syndrome (SIS), a rare condition, which can yield extremely negative results.

Concussion prevention

Concussions are not always avoidable, but there are some preventive actions you can take to keep your child safe.

If your child is a baby or a toddler, the following tips may help you to help your child avoid a concussion:

  • Make sure your child rides in an approved car seat or booster seat.
  • Don't allow other children to carry your child.
  • Don't leave your baby on a bed or couch.
  • Always use safety straps on changing tables, grocery carts and high chairs.
  • Secure large pieces of furniture, such as bookshelves and TVs, to the floor or wall to prevent them from tipping over on your child.
  • Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.

If your child is an athlete, following the tips below may help your child to avoid a concussion:

  • Wear the right protective equipment for the activity, such as helmets, padding, shin guards, mouth guards and protective eyewear.
  • Wear equipment consistently and correctly.
  • Ensure equipment fits properly and is well-maintained.
  • Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Follow the coach's rules.

Helmet Safety

Although your child may not want to wear a helmet, a properly-fitted one can be a lifesaver to a child.

Make sure your child wears a helmet when:

  • Riding a bike, motorcycle, scooter or all-terrain vehicle
  • Playing a contact sport, such as football, lacrosse, ice hockey or boxing
  • Using in-line skates or riding a skateboard
  • Batting and running bases in tee-ball, baseball or softball
  • Riding a horse
  • Skiing or snowboarding

The helmet should fit properly and be:

  • Well-maintained
  • Age-appropriate
  • Appropriately certified for use
  • Worn consistently and correctly