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Concussion 101

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 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 signs and symptoms can appear immediately or not be noticed until days or even weeks after the injury.

How to remain safe !

  • Make sure all safety equipment are sport specific, properly fitted and refurbished according to industry standards.
  • Follow sports safety rules and use proper techniques
  • Practice good sportsmanship

You have a concussion–Now What??

  • Report Symptoms Tell a coach, a parent or athletic trainer if you suspect an athlete has a concussion
  • 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 cases.
  • 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 (athletic trainer, physician, etc.)

Knowing the RED FLAGS

  • Can’t be awakened
  • Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Unusual behavioral change
  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual behavioral change
  • Can’t recognize people or places
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Worsening headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sleep problems
  • Seizures
  • Looks less alert
  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness
  • Increasing confusion or irritability

Sources: NATA, Stanfor Orthopedic Sports Medicine, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Heads Up Concussion, Fifth Annual Youth Sports  Safety Summit

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