(WJBK) - A new survey surprisingly found that many parents caring for a child's concussion may inadvertently be making it worse.
Many think if a child gets a concussion, you should wake that child up every few hours at night to make sure they're okay. Not true.
An estimated 2 million children will be treated in emergency rooms this year for sports-related concussions. A new national survey shows a vast majority of parents follow outdated advice when it comes to caring for concussions and their kids could be paying the price.
Kennedy Dierk, for example, had been playing soccer for 10 years, when, in a split second, everything changed. She bumped heads with another player and got a concussion, although her symptoms didn't appear right away.
"It just progressively got worse and worse and worse throughout the week," says Kennedy.
"It was a longer road back than we thought. It was a good 2 to 3 months before the headache dissipated," says her mom, Dione Dierk.
Kennedy developed post-concussion syndrome, something Dr. Christopher Giza says can happen when the right steps aren't taken immediately after injury.
"Getting proper advice about how to manage your activity early on reduces the likelihood by 15 to 20 percent of whether or not you develop post-concussion syndrome," says Dr. Gize.
But a new national survey by UCLA Health reveals many parents don't always act on professional advice.
If a child shows symptoms of a concussion after one week, more than 3 in 4 parents say they're likely to wake their child up throughout the night. That's something doctors say only makes 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," says Dr. Giza.
The survey also found 84 percent of parents would make kids refrain from any physical activity. But Dr. Giza says if the injury is stable and the activity is safe, kids should exercise after the first few days.
And they should remain social. More than half of parents were likely to take away electronic devices, but that's not always necessary.
"We want to see them interact with their peers as much as they can. And so that may require some permissiveness in terms of electronic communication," says Dr. Giza.
Doctors say kids should take it easy in the first few days after injury, but easing them back into their routines as quickly and safely as possible is important. If your child's concussion symptoms linger for more than two weeks without improving, you may want to see a specialist.