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Published on March 09, 2021

Children and Concussions

teenagers playing soccor

More Information

To schedule an appointment with the Cottage Concussion Clinic, call (805) 879-4240. Virtual appointments are available.

Cottage Concussion Clinic is located at 5333 Hollister, Suite 250, Santa Barbara CA 93111, in the medical office building next to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

Did you know there are an estimated 3.8 million concussions in the U.S. each year among the 40 million children participating in organized sports?

“It’s also estimated that 50% of concussions go unreported making concussions a serious pediatric health problem,” said Rebecca Pifer, MSN, BSN, ACNP-BC, RN-BC, RNFA, Cottage Concussion Clinic. “Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing increases in concussions outside of sports from activities involving trampolines, scooters, skateboarding, surfing and traumas including falls.”

Fortunately, there are laws in California to protect children from the potentially lifelong or life-threatening consequences of returning to physical activity too soon after a concussion. Any child suspected of having a concussion must be removed immediately from all physical activity. The child must then be assessed by a licensed health care provider trained in the management of concussions before returning to physical activity.

“The Cottage Concussion Clinic was developed to promote a safe and active lifestyle for the children of our community,” said Pifer. “It’s free for children in the tri-county area and provides comprehensive services including diagnosis and individualized treatment plans for concussions.”

At the Cottage Concussion Clinic, each patient is assessed, and their progress tracked every week until the patient returns to baseline function. An academic plan is coordinated between the clinic and the school to facilitate the integration of the concussed student back into the academic environment while the child recovers.

Also, during this time, safe, aerobic exercise to benefit recovery is prescribed by the health care provider. After the child can safely return to physical activity, the clinic develops a return-to-play protocol that factors in the child’s capabilities based around their age, capability and sport preference.

Once the child has fully recovered, the Cottage Concussion Clinic provides formal sports clearance along with future sport and physical activity recommendations and also offers annual baseline testing prior to the start of a sport season.

Baseline testing includes information about the athlete's history, graded symptom checklists, cognitive function and balance testing. In the event of a concussion, the data provided not only helps identify a concussion, but also helps medical professionals provide a more comprehensive and individualized approach to concussion management.

If you suspect a concussion in your child, look for these signs:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Amnesia, forgetfulness
  • Disoriented, appears dazed, stunned, blank stare
  • Incoherent, answers questions slowly, repetitive questioning, slurred speech
  • Gait changes, moves clumsily
  • Mood, behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events before/after the hit or fall

Concussion symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Visual disturbances, double or blurry vision
  • Light or noise sensitivity
  • Confusion, concentration or memory problems
  • Sleep disturbances, fatigue, sluggish
  • Not “feeling right”

To schedule an appointment with the Cottage Concussion Clinic, call (805) 879-4240. Virtual appointments are available.

For any emergency after hours call 911 or visit the nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Department.

Cottage Concussion Clinic is located at 5333 Hollister, Suite 250, Santa Barbara CA 93111, in the medical office building next to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

Concussion Clinic Location

Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Medical Office Building

5333 Hollister Ave.
Goleta, CA 93111
805-879-4240

Media and Public Relations Contact

Maria Zate, Manager of Public Relations

Phone: 805-879-8986

Email: mzate@sbch.org