Your doctor will evaluate your child’s signs and symptoms, review his/her medical history and conduct a neurological examination. Signs and symptoms of a concussion may not appear until hours or days after the injury.
Tests your doctor may perform or recommend include:
After your pediatrician asks detailed questions about your child’s injury, he or she may perform a neurological examination. This evaluation includes checking his/her:
- Strength and sensation
Your doctor may conduct several tests to evaluate your child’s cognitive or thinking skills during a neurological examination. Testing may evaluate several factors, including his/her:
- Ability to recall information
Brain imaging tests may be recommended for children with symptoms such as severe headaches, seizures, repeated vomiting or symptoms that are progressively becoming worse. Brain imaging may determine whether the injury is severe and has caused bleeding or swelling in your child’s skull.
A CT scan is the standard test to assess the brain right after injury. A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of your child’s skull and brain.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to view bleeding in your child’s brain or diagnose complications which may occur after a concussion.
An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed images of your child’s brain.
Your child may need to be hospitalized overnight for observation after a concussion.
If your doctor agrees that your child may be observed at home, you should stay with and check on your child for at least 24 hours to ensure the symptoms aren’t worsening. You may be told to awaken your child to make sure he/she wakes normally.