How to Tell If Your Kid Has a Concussion in Just 2 Minutes

Kids get bonked on the head. It just happens. And moms worry a lot about every hit ... that just happens, too. But here's some good news: You can finally put all that worry to work with a quick at-home test for concussions in your kids that has an astonishing 92 percent accuracy rate.

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The test is call the King-Devick test, and it's actually been around since the 70s. It was originally created as a test for dyslexia, but researchers at New York University decided to test it on brain injuries and found that it actually works better than the standard tests used on concussions.

This is huge because almost half a million kids go to the emergency room every year for traumatic brain injuries, and even more go undiagnosed. Of those kids, 170,000 alone are in the hospital because of concussions from sports or recreation.

And yes, concussions are nasty when they happen (among other symptoms, you might see memory loss, confusion, nausea, disturbed sleep, and depression), but the long-term effects are just as bad. Brains can be affected for years after even just one concussion. They will function differently than a healthy brain -- maybe permanently -- and certain parts will deteriorate for good.

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So, if you think your kid might have a concussion, test them. The King-Devick test literally only takes seconds and you could save them from all sorts of pain for years to come.

Here's how it works: Before the football or hockey or lacrosse season starts this year, print out the sheet of numbers below or buy a copy from King-Devick.

Then have your kids read the numbers across, like they'd read lines in a book (the first square demonstrates how the numbers should be read). They should read the numbers in each square as fast as they can while you time them and write down their times for each.

Then, if after practice someday you're afraid your kid might have a concussion, have her take the test again. If her time increases from the last time she took the test by more than a few seconds, she probably has a concussion and you should take her to the doctor. If the time is the same or faster, she's fine.

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Easy, right? That's the point. Though concussions aren't treatable, per se, it's important to confirm that your kid has one so they can adjust their activities accordingly. If you don't realize your kid has a concussion and they go back to school and sports as they normally would, the short-term and long-term effects could get exponentially worse.

Two more things to remember? First, the test will work on anyone who can read, so next time your husband drops a hammer on his head or whatever, you can test him, too. Second, prevention is everything when it comes to head injuries. Some are unavoidable, but helmets will save you and your kids from a lot of headaches. Literally.

Have your kids ever had a concussion?

 

Image via Suzanne Tucker/shutterstock

 

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