A concussion is a brain injury and all brain injuries are serious. Concussions
are often caused by an impact to the head, or to another part of the body, with
the force transmitted to the head. Concussions disrupt the way the brain
normally works, and vary greatly in severity. Even though most concussions are
mild, all concussions are potentially serious
and may result in complications including prolonged brain damage and death if
not recognized and managed properly. You
can’t see a concussion, and most sports concussions occur without loss of
consciousness. Signs and symptoms may show up right away, or can take hours or
days to fully appear. Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect your
child has suffered a concussion.
Signs observed by teammates, parents, or coaches may include
that the athlete:
- Appears dazed or confused.
- Confused about assignment.
- Has slurred speech.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Has seizures of convulsions.
- Shows behavior or personality changes.
- Answers questions slowly or can't answer.
- Can't recall events from before or after the injury.
- Is unsure of events of game, score, opponent
- Has a vacant facial expression ("blank stare")
Symptoms may include one or more of the following:
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Concentration problems
- Memory problems
- Repeats same questions and comments
- Mood/emotional changes
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Feels foggy or groggy
- Sensitive to light or noise
- Feels sluggish or slowed down
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Neck pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Clear fluid from ears
What happens if my child keeps playing
with a concussion or returns too soon?
with signs/symptoms of a concussion should be removed from play immediately.
Continuing to play while experiencing signs or symptoms of a concussion leaves
the athlete especially vulnerable to greater injury. There is increased risk of
significant brain damage from a concussion for a period of time after that
concussion occurs, particularly if the athlete suffers another concussion
before completely recovering from the first one. This can lead to prolonged
recovery, or even to severe brain swelling (“second impact syndrome”) with
devastating and even fatal consequences. It is well known that teenage athletes
will often underreport symptoms of injuries – concussions are no different. We
urge parents to be especially vigilant and watchful, as they know their child
best, and are best able to notice changes in the child that may result from a
concussion. All suspected concussions should be reported to the Certified Athletic
Trainer as soon as possible. Baseline testing is offered to every student-athlete
who participates in a school sponsored sport. Post-concussion testing is
administered after symptoms have resolved and before the athlete’s follow-up
appointment with a licensed physician. The post-concussion results can then be
used in conjunction with the baseline score to help the licensed physician in
their assessment, treatment, and return to play criteria.
If you think your child has suffered a
you notice signs or symptoms of a concussion in your child, seek immediate
medical attention right away from a certified athletic trainer, licensed
physician trained in the evaluation and management of concussions, or your
hospital’s Emergency Department. Any athlete suspected of suffering a
concussion must be removed from the game or practice immediately, and may not
return until the athlete is evaluated (and cleared in writing) by a licensed
physician trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. Besides
managing your child’s concussion and return to play, the Certified Athletic
Trainers will also help coordinate with your child’s coaches, academic
counselor and teachers.