Tuesday, June 18 2013, 08:08 AM MDT
(CBS) Millions of children are treated for concussions each year. But a new study finds their recovery time grows longer with repeat concussions.
As a high school cheerleader, high flying stunts are a regular part of Jackie Cortez' routine. But a mishap during practice landed her on the floor and in the doctor's office.
"I landed face-first and the right side of my head…I was like really dizzy. My eyes were closing," Jackie said.
It turns out she has a concussion. Now a new study in the journal Pediatrics finds children and teens who have suffered a concussion in the past take significantly longer to recover if they have another one.
“Symptoms can include headache, dizziness, or just feeling slower in a fog,” said Dr. Tracy Zaslow, an M.D. at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Sports Concussion Clinic.
Researchers looked at nearly 300 patients, ages 11 to 22, and found most suffered concussions while playing soccer, football, basketball and hockey.
The time frame between concussions also affects recovery time. Children who suffer a second concussion within a year take almost three times longer to recover. Children with head injuries usually need at least 7 to 10 days to recover.
"It's a matter of rest. And that's a combination of physical and cognitive rest to allow the brain to recover,” Dr. Zaslow said. That also means sitting it out for a while, and a gradual return to play.
This is Jackie’s first concussion, but her mom says they're taking that message seriously.
"If she wants to do it again, she has to get better,” Janet Ramirez said.
So Jackie says she'll wait for the doctor's "all-clear" before she cheers again.
The study also found that children who were 13 or older had longer recovery times than young children.