· 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 a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.
Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.
SIGNS OBSERVED BY COACHING STAFF
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment or position
- Forgets an instruction
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
- Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
- Can’t recall events after hit or fall
SYMPTOMS REPORTED BY ATHLETE
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Just “not feeling right” or “feeling down
WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN A CONCUSSION IS SUSPECTED?
No matter whether the athlete is a key member of the team or the game is about to end, an athlete with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from play. To help you know how to respond, follow the Heads Up four-step action plan:
1. REMOVE THE ATHLETE FROM PLAY. Look for signs and symptoms of a concussion if your athlete has experienced a bump or blow to the head or body. When in doubt, sit them out!
2. ENSURE THAT THE ATHLETE IS EVALUATED BY AN APPROPRIATE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Health care professionals have a number of methods that they can use to assess the severity of concussions. As a coach, recording the following information can help health care professionals in assessing the athlete after the injury: Cause of the injury and force of the hit or blow to the head or body
- · Any loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out) and if so, for how long
- · Any memory loss immediately following the injury
- · Any seizures immediately following the injury
- · Number of previous concussions (if any)
3. INFORM THE ATHLETE’S PARENTS OR GUARDIANS. Let them know about the possible concussion and give them the Heads Up fact sheet for parents. This fact sheet can help parents monitor the athlete for signs or symptoms that appear or get worse once the athlete is at home or returns to school.
4. KEEP THE ATHLETE OUT OF PLAY. An athlete should be removed from play the day of the injury and until an appropriate health care professional says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play. After you remove an athlete with a suspected concussion from practice or play, the decision about return to practice or play is a medical decision
REFERENCES 1. Lovell MR, Collins MW, Iverson GL, Johnston KM, Bradley JP. Grade 1 or “ding” concussions in high school athletes. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 2004; 32(1):47-54. 2. Institute of Medicine (US). Is soccer bad for children’s heads? Summary of the IOM Workshop on Neuropsychological Consequences of Head Impact in Youth Soccer. Washington (DC): National Academies Press; 2002. 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sports-related recurrent brain injuries-United States. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1997; 46(10):224-227. Available at: www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00046702.htm.