A concussion may be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, or by any fall or hit that jars the brain. This invisible injury disrupts the way the brain works by decreasing mental stamina, as the brain must work longer and harder even to complete simple tasks. Concussions may involve loss of consciousness, but the majority of concussions do not. Ultimately, all concussions are serious because they involve an injury to the brain.
Concussions can occur in any sport, but the potential for a concussion is greatest in sports in which collisions are common, such as soccer, football and hockey.
It is important to remember that you may experience symptoms immediately, or not until hours or days after the injury. If you think you have a concussion, you should not return to play or practice and you
should seek medical attention right away.
Symptoms you may feel
- headache or “pressure” in the head
- nausea or vomiting
- balance problems or dizziness
- double or blurry vision
- sensitivity to light and noise
- sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy feeling
- concentration or memory problems
- not “feeling right”
Changes others might see in you
- you seem dazed or stunned
- you seem confused about the rules
- you are forgetting plays
- you are unsure of the score or who the opponent is
- you are moving clumsily
- you answer questions slowly
- you lose consciousness (even briefly)
- your behavior or personality changes
- you can’t recall events before or after the hit or fall
If a concussion is suspected
Tell your coaches and your parents immediately. Never ignore a bump or blow to the head even if you feel fine. Also, tell your coach if you suspect a teammate might have a concussion. Seek medical attention within 72 hours of when the concussion happened. Only a health care provider can tell you if you have a concussion and when it is appropriate to return to play and to school.
Follow the return-to-school and return-to-play plans recommended by your health care provider. When in doubt, sit it out!
Every sport is different, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. First, always follow your coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport. Additionally, use the proper equipment, including personal protective equipment such as a helmet, padding, shin guards and eye and mouth guards. Ensure your protective equipment fits properly, is well maintained and is worn consistently and correctly.