Pediatric Concussion Clinic
Nurturing the Developing Brain

Pediatric neurologist Mitzi Payne, MD, and pediatrician Norman Cottrill, MD, stress the importance of evaluating children and teens for concussion in a WSAZ "Moms Everyday" interview.

A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury. Each year, almost 150,000 children ages five to 18 visit their local emergency department for sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries.

Marshall Neuroscience's Pediatric Concussion Clinic was established to more effectively address and manage the symptoms of children and teens with concussions, which may have a more serious effect on young, developing brains. Although most concussions are mild with a brief recovery period, concussion in children also can pose serious health risks, from temporary memory lapses to fatal brain swelling.

At the Pediatric Concussion Clinic, patients are evaluated by a general pediatrician and a pediatric neurologist. Combining the perspectives of both physicians provides a more comprehensive assessment of the child's condition, which leads to a more comprehensive plan of care. Children and teens may take longer to recover after a concussion compared to adults, and they also may experience greater severity of symptoms and more neurological disturbances, as measured by neuropsychological and postural stability tests. The frontal lobes of the human brain continue to develop until age 25, so it is vital to manage concussions in youth very conservatively to ensure optimal neurological development and outcomes.

Ongoing research indicates that the repercussions of a concussion may be more long-lasting than originally thought. If your child or teen has a concussion, the brain needs time to heal. The doctor may limit activities for your child during recovery, and it is very important to follow the doctor's instructions. Exercise or activities that involve a lot of concentration, such as studying, working on the computer or playing video games may cause concussion symptoms (such as headache or tiredness) to reappear or get worse. Children and teens with a suspected concussion should not return to sports or recreational activities until a healthcare professional experienced in evaluating for concussion says they are symptom-free and it’s okay to do so.

The Pediatric Concussion Clinic takes place weekly at Marshall Neuroscience on the campus of Cabell Huntington Hospital. A physician's referral is not necessary. For an appointment or more information, please call 304-691-1787.