Recognizing Concussions

With any sport (as well as any physical activity) comes the risk of concussions. A concussion is caused by an impact to your brain from a high-speed collision. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone has a concussion right away but the signs are there. For the health of the player, it is vital to be able to recognize the signs of a concussion especially if they are not in the right mind to do so themselves. Not removing a player with a concussion can lead to them getting more concussions which can lead to death.

Typical signs and symptoms of a concussion may include headache, nausea, vomiting, temporary Loss of consciousness, confusion, dizziness, and/or seizures. When a concussion occurs, the athlete will be taken off the field of play and assessed by a trainer or coach for a possible concussion. If there is any concern, the athlete will be removed from the game and monitored. Sometimes signs of a concussion may not present themselves until a few hours after the incident, so make sure to have your child be seen if they are complaining of any of these symptoms or if they are behaving abnormally. In some cases, they may need to be seen in the ER for a CT scan of their brain. Concussions are treated by resting the brain and returning to school and sports as they are able to regain their attention and have no symptoms with activities.

Though athletes are often educated about concussions before entering the field of play, it is always good to review these signs and symptoms with your child athlete so that they are aware and know when to stop play. Let your child know that getting hurt or having a concussion is not a sign of weakness and having the self-awareness to know when something isn’t right is a good thing.

Call your doctor right away if your child has persistent vomiting, trouble walking or talking, your child has loss of bowel or bladder control, or a severe headache that continues to worsen after being hit. If they are found to have a concussion, always remember to be patient with concussions. In some cases, it may take up to 3 weeks for symptoms to resolve after a concussion. Some sports like football have equipment designed to reduce the risk of concussions, though there is no way to completely remove this risk. The best advice you can give your athlete is to avoid leading with their head when tackling and keep your head up as well!