Heads Up – Concussions in sports

What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. They can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. Even a “ding” or a bump on the head can be serious.

What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?
You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or can take days or weeks to appear. If your teen reports any symptoms of concussion or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away

Signs observed by coaching staffs

Appears dazed or stunned
Is confused about assignment
Forgets plays
Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
Moves clumsily
Answers questions slowly
Shows behavior or personality changes
Loses consciousness
Shows behavior or personality changes
Can’t recall events prior to hit
Can’t recall events after hit

Symptoms reported by athletes    

Balance problems or dizziness
Double or fuzzy vision
Sensitivity to light or noise
Feeling sluggish
Feeling foggy or groggy
Concentration or memory problems

What should you do if you think your teenage athlete has a concussion?
Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your teen to return to sports.

Keep your teen out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your teen return to play until a health care professional says it’s OK. Athletes who return to play too soon—while the brain is still healing—risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Second or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your teen for a lifetime.

Tell all of your teen’s coaches about any recent concussion. Coaches should know if your teen had a recent concussion in ANY sport. Your teen’s coaches may not know about a concussion your teen received in another sport or activity unless you tell them. Knowing about the concussion will allow the coach to keep your teen from activities that could result in another concussion. 

Remind your teen: It’s better to miss one game than the whole season.

Courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept. of Health.