Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports

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HEADS UP: CONCUSSION IN YOUTH SPORTS
A fact sheet for COACHES, PLAYERS AND PARENTS
 
http://cdc.gov/concussioninyouthsports
to download additional information
 

The Facts:

  • A concussion is a brain injury
  • All concussions are serious
  • Concussions can occur without loss of consciousness
  • Concussions can occur in any sport
  • Recognition and proper management of concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death
 
WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?

A concussion is an injury that changes how the cells in the brain normally work.  It is caused by a blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull.  It is the immediate and transient alteration of neurological function in the brain caused by mechanical acceleration and deceleration forces.
 
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A CONCUSSION
A concussion should be suspected if any one or more of the following signs or symptoms are present OR if the coach is unsure:

  Signs of a concussion
may include
(what the
athlete looks like):

 
  • Confusion/disorientation/irritability
 
  •  Act silly/combative/aggressive
  •  Trouble resting/ getting comfortable
 
  •  Repeatedly ask same questions
  •  Lack of concentration
 
  •  Dazed appearance
  •  Slow response/drowsiness
 
  •  Restless/irritable
  •  Incoherent/slurred speech
 
  •  Constant attempts to return to play
  •  Slow/clumsy movements
 
  •  Constant motion
  •  Loss of consciousness
 
  •  Disproportionate/inappropriate reactions
  •  Amnesia/memory problems
 
  •  Balance problems
   Symptoms of a concussion may include (what the athlete reports):
 
  •  Headache or dizziness
 
  •  Oversensitivity to sound/light/touch
  •  Nausea or vomiting
 
  •  Ringing in ears
  •  Blurred or double vision
 
  •  Feeling foggy or groggy
  •  Can't recall events prior to hit or fall
 
  •  Is unsure of game, score or opponent
 
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK YOUR ATHLETE HAS A CONCUSSION?
  • If you suspect that your athlete has a concussion, remove the athlete from play and seek medical attention.  Keep the athlete out of play the day of injury and until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says she/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 and playing video games, may cause concussion symptoms to reappear or get worse.  Returning to sports or school is a gradual process that should be carefully managed and monitored by a health care professional.
  • 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 a month or longer.

 

CONTINUING TO ENGAGE IN YOUTH ATHLETIC ACTIVITY AFTER SUSTAINING A CONCUSSION

Most athletes with a concussion get better and return to sports, but it is important to rest and give your brain time to heal.   A repeat concussion that occurs while your brain is still healing can cause long-term problems that may change your life forever.  In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in brain swelling, permanent brain damage and even death.

 

RETURN TO ATHLETIC PLAY AFTER RECEIVING A CONCUSSION

Any athlete who shows signs, symptoms and / or behaviors consistent with a concussion from activity or competition in which they were participating shall be immediately removed, referred to their parent/guardian for referral to a licensed health care professional for assessment and shall not be permitted to participate in the activity or competition on that day.  The return to play procedure for athletes who have had a concussion will be:

  • The athlete must be evaluated by a licensed health care professional educated in concussion management
  • The athlete must receive written clearance from the health care professional for a full return to play