Mara Boyd, recovering from a concussion, working with her chiropractor. (CTV News Edmonton)

Doctors are encouraging parents and kids to be honest about their brain health as the number of concussions in kids rise.

“We tell families after a fall, a blow to the head, if they’re not 100 per cent normal and you’re concerned we’d be happy to see them and evaluate them from there,” said Dr. Bruce Wright, an emergency room physician at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Some of the symptoms of a possible concussion are:

  • Brain fog
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Distraction
  • Lack of concentration
  • Increased emotion
  • Fatigue

These were the symptoms that nine-year-old Mara Boyd had after falling and hitting her head.

“That time I really noticed right away she immediately had the look of a sick kid after,” said Krystie Watson-Boyd, Mara’s mother.

This was Mara’s second fall in a month, the first time was after slipping on some ice while getting on the bus.

At the time she just had a bump on the head, but it grew worse.

“Anytime her heart rate was going up she was getting headaches,” said Watson-Boyd.

At the time a concussion wasn’t found, but Wright said that diagnosing concussions isn’t an exact science.

“There’s no specific test for a concussion, it’s all really based on the history of events as well as ongoing symptoms that the child reports,” said Wright

“This isn't like a broken leg, it's not where you see it, there's no bruise no swelling, nothing is visible.”

Wright said around 75,000 concussions are being diagnosed in kids a year in Canada.

Chiropractor Jeff Cubos is working with Mara as she recovers and is glad to see more people are accepting and aware of concussion diagnoses.

“I wish I could say there's a timeline for concussions, being truthful everybody's different,” said Cubos. “I like to think about it in milestones rather than timelines.”

Mara is two months into her recovery. She attends school part-time and has to avoid screen time and physical activity.

“It's hard for me to concentrate a lot and I'm really distracted,” said Mara.

“In gym I try to be the cheerleader but if it gets too loud I take a break. In music we have recorders now so… no.”

She said she has one milestone, to participate in at least one soccer practice before the season is finished.

With files from CTV Edmonton’s Erin Isfeld