Dr. Zemek

The Living Guideline for Pediatric Concussions with Dr. Roger Zemek









Episode 6

With kids and concussions, assessing and managing the injury gets a little tricky, so Concussion Central decided to call in an expert for the podcast today.  We decided to ask Dr. Zemek what makes pediatric concussions different from adult injuries.

How do parents and caregivers manage concussions when the patient may be too small to communicate what they’re feeling or experiencing? How do doctors even assess children when they change quickly over such a short period? How do you know if your child is getting better, and when should you start to worry?

Dr. Zemek, and his team at CHEO, provide much-needed curation of the latest information about pediatric concussions, providing best practices as the information on this injury constantly evolves. The Living Guideline primarily helps front-line health care providers, like family physicians and emergency room doctors (remember, most concussions are diagnosed or even assessed in the emergency). The new online format also ensures everyone is on the same page – from doctors to coaches and parents.

David and Dr. Zemek review new data on pediatric concussions, such as new evidence on how a concussion can affect a child’s mental health and the importance of finding the right way to return to school. Play and social time are now recognized as vital to a good recovery.

They discuss risk management and risk tolerance in returning to sports, especially after multiple concussions – driving home the importance of a tailored plan and the powerful effect of exercise on your child’s recovery.

They also talk about the role of injury prevention in avoiding concussions, highlighting work out of the University of Calgary and Parachute Canada.

Finally, David asks Dr. Zemek about his history with concussions and his ‘why’? Dr. Zemek is an enthusiastic guest, but the story behind why his work has focused on this particular injury is powerful and one to which all caregivers can relate.

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More information about:

Roger Zemek, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Zemek is a leading global pediatric concussion expert. A noted clinician and researcher, he is an Emergency Physician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute. He is also Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, and Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Zemek led the largest prospective concussion study in the world to-date and co-leads an international team developing the first-ever ‘Living Guideline’ for pediatric concussion management. He is Director of the Clinical Research Unit at CHEO and Chair of the Pediatric Emergency Research Canada (PERC) network.


Selected Publications

Clinical Risk Score for Persistent Postconcussion Symptoms Among Children With Acute Concussion in the ED
Association Between Early Participation in Physical Activity Following Acute Concussion and Persistent Postconcussive Symptoms in Children and Adolescents
Natural Progression of Symptom Change and Recovery From Concussion in a Pediatric Population
Living Guideline for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion