INFORMATION FOR SUTDENT-ATHLETES & PARENTS/LEGAL GUARDIANS
(Adapted from CDC “Heads Up Concussion in Youth Sports”)
Public Chapter 148, effective January 1, 2014, requires that school and community organizations sponsoring youth athletic activities establish guidelines to inform and educate coaches, youth athletes and other adults involved in youth athletics about the nature, risk and symptoms of concussion/head injury.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.
- Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
- Athletes who have, at any point in their lives, had a concussion have an increased risk for another concussion.
- Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CONCUSSION?
Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury.
If an athlete reports one or more symptoms of concussion listed below after a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body, s/he should be kept out of play the day of the injury and until a health care provider* says s/he is symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.
|SIGNS OFFERED BY COACHING STAFF||SYMPTOMS REPORTED BY ATHLETES|
|Appears dazed or confused||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 for fall||Confusion|
|Can’t recall events after hit or fall||Just not “feeling right” or “feeling down”|
CONCUSSION DANGER SIGNS
In rare cases, a dangerous blood clot may form on the brain in a person with a concussion and crowd the brain against the skull. An athlete should receive immediate medical attention after a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body if s/he exhibits any of the following danger signs:
- One pupil larger than the other
- Is drowsy or cannot be awakened
- A headache that not only does not diminish, but gets worse
- Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Slurred speech
- Convulsions or seizures
- Cannot recognize people or places
- Becomes increasingly confused, restless or agitated
- Has unusual behavior
- Loses consciousness (even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously)
WHY SHOULD AN ATHLETE REPORT HIS OR HER SYMPTOMS?
If an athlete has a concussion, his/her brain needs time to heal. While an
athlete’s brain is still healing, s/he is much more likely to have another
concussion. Repeat concussions can increase the time it takes to recover. In rare cases, repeat concussions in young athletes can result in brain swelling or permanent damage to their brains. They can even be fatal.
Concussions affect people differently. While most athletes with a concussion recover quickly and fully, some will have symptoms that last for days, or even weeks. A more serious concussion can last for months or longer.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK YOUR ATHLETE HAS A CONCUSSION?
If you suspect that an athlete has a concussion, remove the athlete from
play and seek medical attention. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until a health care provider* says s/he is symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.
Rest is key to helping an athlete recover from a concussion. Exercising or
activities that involve a lot of concentration such as studying, working on the computer or playing video games may cause concussion symptoms to
reappear or get worse. After a concussion, returning to sports and school is a gradual process that should be carefully managed and monitored by
a health care professional.
After reading the previous concussion information both student-athletes and parents/legal guardians should be aware and knowledgeable of the following statements:
- A concussion is a brain injury which should be reported to my
parents, my coach(es) or a medical professional if one is available.
- A concussion cannot be “seen.” Some symptoms might be present
right away. Other symptoms can show up hours or days after an injury.
- I will tell my parents, my coach and/or a medical professional about my injuries and illnesses.
- I will not return to play in a game or practice if a hit to my head or body causes any concussion-related symptoms.
- I will/my child will need written permission from a health care
provider* to return to play or practice after a concussion.
- Most concussions take days or weeks to get better. A more serious concussion can last for months or longer.
- After a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body an athlete should
receive immediate medical attention if there are any danger signs
such as loss of consciousness, repeated vomiting or a headache
that gets worse.
- After a concussion, the brain needs time to heal. I understand that I am/my child is much more likely to have another concussion or more serious brain injury if return to play or practice occurs before the concussion symptoms go away.
- Sometimes repeat concussion can cause serious and long-lasting
problems and even death.