SPORTS & CONCUSSIONS
What is a Concussion?
Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a blow
or jolt to the head. The injury can range from mild to severe and can
disrupt the way the brain normally works.
An athlete does not need to lose consciousness to sustain a concussion.
You cannot see a concussion, but you might notice some of the symptoms
right away. Other symptoms can show up days or weeks after the injury.
It is best to see a health care professional if you think you might have
a concussion. An undiagnosed concussion can affect your abilities at school
or work and in everyday activities.
Signs and Symptoms of Concussions
- Nausea (feeling that you might vomit)
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish or tired
- Feeling foggy or groggy
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble remembering
If you've had a concussion
- Never ignore a bump to the head
- Tell your coach or teammates
- Ask to be taken out of the game
- Pay attention to physical changes
- Watch out for thinking problems
- Talk to your parents or teachers about the troubles you are having
- See a health care professional
- Get plenty of rest
- Return to practice and play only after your brain is healed and your health
care professional says it's okay
When Will I Get Better?
Your concussion symptoms can begin to decrease in the first few weeks/months
depending on the severity of your injury. You may notice more difficulty
in some situations than others. You might get tired after reading, studying
or watching TV. It may be harder to do two things at once, such as talking
on the phone and working on the computer.
Take things slow and be patient with yourself. Do not participate in contact
sports until your health care professional says it is okay.
Did You Know?
- A concussion is the most common type of brain injury sustained in sports.
- Most concussions do NOT involve loss of consciousness.
- You can sustain a concussion even if you do NOT hit your head. An indirect
blow elsewhere on the body can transmit an "impulsive" force
to the head and cause a concussion to the brain.
- Multiple concussions can have cumulative and long lasting life changes.
- Concussions typically do NOT appear in neuroimaging studies such as MRI
or CAT Scans.
- An estimated 1.6-3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions
occur in the United States each year.
- During 2001-2005, children and youth ages 5-18 years accounted for 2.4
million sports-related emergency department (ED) visits annually, of which
6% (135,000) involved a concussion.
- Of the 1.4 million traumatic brain injuries sustained by children and adults
in the United States each year, at least 75% are mild and/or concussions.
- Among children and youth ages 5-18 years, the five leading sports or recreational
activities, which account for concussions, include bicycling, football,
basketball, playground activities, and soccer.