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The Hood Magazine

Get the Facts about Concussions

Aug 25, 2021 07:34PM ● By Sanford Health

By: Sanford Health 

All concussions are serious and can happen to any athlete. If your child has a concussion and continues to play, they risk missing an entire season instead of a game or two. Learn how to spot a concussion and what to do if your child has one. 

What is a concussion 

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or body. It can happen in any sport – even if the athlete is wearing a helmet. 

It’s estimated that four million sports-related concussions occur each year. Many of these dangerous brain injuries go unrecognized. 

Concussions can be difficult to prevent, but there are some steps athletes can take to better protect themselves. Proper gear and playing techniques can offer protection. Athletes should also avoid unnecessary contact in order to minimize their risk of injury. 

Symptoms of concussions 

Because a concussion is a brain injury, it can change an athlete’s thinking, behavior, and physical function. Signs of a concussion include: 

  • Memory and concentration problems 

  • Headache 

  • Dizziness 

  • Confusion 

  • Sensitivity to light and noise 

  • Nausea and vomiting 

  • Loss of consciousness 

If a concussion is suspected, an athlete should be pulled from a game immediately. They’re at greater risk of further brain injury if they continue playing. 

Some athletes will avoid reporting their concussion-like symptoms in order to keep playing. That’s why it’s important to educate players about self-reporting if they feel something is wrong. One of the worst things any athlete can do for their health is to keep playing after a concussion, but most players don’t need to see a doctor right away. 

After a concussion, athletes need plenty of rest in the first 24 to 48 hours. Players can safely sleep after a brain injury if they’re able to follow a conversation. They should go on walks on the second or third day after their injury and slowly introduce modified activities, depending on their symptoms. 

When to seek emergency services 

An athlete needs medical help as soon as possible if they have these red flag symptoms: 

  • Loss of consciousness for more than 30 seconds 

  • A headache that dramatically worsens over time 

  • Won’t wake up 

  • Can’t recognize familiar people or places 

  • Seizures 

  • Uncontrollable vomiting  

  • Slurred speech 

As the school-sponsored sports season returns, you can help your child enjoy the game by having important conversations about safety and recognizing the signs if they need to take a break.