With more attention being paid to concussions, they’re no longer being thought of as simple “bumps on the head” or “bell-ringers.” Help keep young athletes protected by better understanding the symptoms, treatment and prevention of concussions.
• A concussion is defined as a “trauma-induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve loss of consciousness.”
• This can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.
• Concussion symptoms can appear immediately (e.g., headache, dizziness) or within the first week (e.g., sleep issues, irritability) following injury.
HOW TO REMAIN SAFE ON THE FIELD
• Make sure all helmets and safety equipment are sport specific, properly fitted and refurbished according to industry standards.
• Follow sports safety rules and use proper techniques.
• Practice good sportsmanship.
KNOWING THE RED FLAGS FOR IMMEDIATE REFERRAL
• LOOKS LESS ALERT
• CAN’T BE AWAKENED
• REPEATED VOMITING
• SLURRED SPEECH
• CAN’T RECOGNIZE PEOPLE
• INCREASING CONFUSION OR
• LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
• WEAKNESS OR NUMBNESS IN
ARMS OR LEGS
• UNUSUAL BEHAVIORAL CHANGE
• BOTHERED BY LIGHT
• SLOWED REACTION TIME
• SLEEP PROBLEMS
YOU HAVE A CONCUSSION –NOW WHAT?
• Report symptoms: Tell a coach, parent or athletic trainer if you suspect an athlete has
• Get checked out: Only a health care professional experienced with concussion management can tell if a concussion has occurred and when it is OK to return to play.
• Get plenty of rest: Immediately after the concussion is sustained, rest is recommended. This includes
keeping a regular sleep routine and avoiding activities that require a lot of concentration.
• Give time to recover: It’s important to allot time to heal. Another concussion
sustained while the brain is healing can result in long-term problems or even death in rare
• Take it slow at first: After the physician or athletic trainer gives the OK to return to activity, an athlete shouldn’t jump in all at once. The athletic trainer will work with the athlete to develop a safe plan for progressively returning to play.
• Address concerns: If there are concerns, don’t hesitate to bring them up with a health care provider or (athletic trainer, physician, etc.).
Sources: NATA, Sanford Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Center for Disease Control and
Prevention, Heads Up Concussion, Fifth Annual Youth Sports Safety Summit