Skiing, snowboarding, basketball, swimming, football, cheerleading, bicycling, roller-blading, and even jumping on the bed are among the many activities youth engage in where there is a risk of brain injury.
Concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. It is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth.
Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity. You can’t see a concussion but there are signs and symptoms to be aware of. These signs and symptoms can show up right after an injury or may not appear or be noticed until hours or days after the injury occurs. All coaches, parents and students should know the signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs.
Signs and Symptoms of a concussion may include:
• Nausea or vomiting
• Dizziness or balance problems
• Double or fuzzy vision
• Headache or “pressure” in head
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Feeling sluggish or tired
• Numbness or tingling
• Does not “feel right”
• Difficulty concentrating or remembering
• Difficulty thinking clearly
• Feeling more slowed down
• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
• More emotional than usual
• Sleeps less than or more than usual
• Has trouble falling asleep
When a concussion is suspected, seek medical attention right away. A health care provider will be able to tell if there is a concussion and when it is safe to return to normal activities (especially physical activity and school (concentration and learning activities).
Take steps to protect against concussion. Ensure youth follow the rules, whether they’re the rules of the game or the rules of the road. Make sure children wear the right protective equipment for their activity such as helmet, padding, eye and mouth guards or shin guards. Parents should learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion, and shouldn’t hesitate to keep their child out of a sports game or activity after a concussion.
Adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/index.html
For more information, contact the school nurse.