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What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity. So, all coaches, parents, and athletes need to learn concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs.

How to Recognize a Concussion?

To help recognize a concussion, you should watch for the following two things among your athletes:

A forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head.

AND

Any change in the athlete’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning.

Athletes who experience any of the signs and symptoms listed below after a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body should be kept out of play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.

Signs Observed by Coaching Staff Symptoms Reported by Athlete
Appears dazed or stunned Headache or “pressure” in head
Is confused about assignment or position Nausea or vomiting
Forgets an instruction Balance problems or dizziness
Is unsure of game, score, or opponent Double or blurry vision
Moves clumsily Sensitivity to light
Answers questions slowly Sensitivity to noise
Loses consciousness (even briefly) Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes Concentration or memory problems
Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall Confusion
Can’t recall events after hit or fall Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”

 

Remember, you can’t see a concussion and some athletes may not experience and/or report symptoms until hours or days after the injury. Most people with a concussion will recover quickly and fully. But for some people, signs and symptoms of concussion can last for days, weeks, or longer.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/recognize.html

What To Do If a Concussion Occurs?

If you suspect that an athlete has a concussion, implement your 4-step action plan:

  1. Remove the athlete from play. Look for signs and symptoms of a concussion if your athlete has experienced a bump or blow to the head or body. When in doubt, keep the athlete out of play.
     
  2. Ensure that the athlete is evaluated by a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Health care professionals have a number of methods that they can use to assess the severity of concussions. As a coach, recording the following information can help health care professionals in assessing the athlete after the injury:
    • Cause of the injury and force of the hit or blow to the head or body
    • Any loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out) and if so, for how long
    • Any memory loss immediately following the injury
    • Any seizures immediately following the injury
    • Number of previous concussions (if any) 
       
  3. Inform the athlete’s parents or guardians about the possible concussion and give them the fact sheet on concussion. Make sure they know that the athlete should be seen by a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion.
     
  4. Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks)—can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in edema (brain swelling), permanent brain damage, and even death.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/response.html


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