Do You Know the Signs of a Concussion? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on August 21, 2015

Do You Know the Signs of a Concussion?

Concussions are the most common injuries among young athletes, typically caused by a bump, blow or hit to the head.

If you think your child or teen has suffered a
concussion, remove the child from play
and seek medical attention right away.

High school and youth sports are back in full swing, which means you may be driving your student athlete back and forth to practice and cheering them on from the sidelines.

With the excitement of their new season comes the reality that injuries are always a possibility. While conditioning, stretching and wearing protective gear are great preventive measures for youth athletes, sometimes injuries are unavoidable, especially in the case of concussions.

Concussions are the most common injuries among young athletes, typically caused by a bump, blow or hit to the head. Unlike a fracture or a cut, you can’t see a concussion.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion can develop right after a hard hit on the field, but sometimes they don’t appear or aren’t noticed until days or weeks after the injury occurred. Adding to the confusion, not all concussions result in losing consciousness.

Coaches and team trainers are educated in what to look for in athletes who may have suffered a concussion, but it’s just as important for you as the parent to know what to look for too. If their symptoms don’t appear during a game or practice, they may show up or become more apparent when your child is at home with you.

Here are the things you should be on the lookout for.

Someone who’s suffered a concussion may complain of a headache or “pressure” in their head, nausea or vomiting, balance problems or dizziness, double or blurry vision, a sensitivity to light or noise, feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy, trouble concentrating or remembering, confusion and simply just not “feeling right” or feeling down.

Signs you may notice include:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about school assignments or a position on the field
  • Forgets instructions
  • Isn’t sure about the game, score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness, even briefly
  • Shows mood, behavior or personality changes

Some symptoms can worsen over time. If your youth athlete exhibits any of these symptoms, they should be seen in an emergency department right away:

  • One pupil, the black part in the middle of the eye, is larger than the other
  • Drowsiness or inability to be woken up
  • A headache that gets worse and doesn’t go away
  • Weakness, numbness or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Difficulty recognizing people or places
  • Increasing confusion, restlessness or agitation
  • Unusual behavior
  • Loss of consciousness

If you think your child has suffered a concussion, you should get them medical treatment right away. Your healthcare provider will be able to determine if they do in fact have a concussion, its severity and when it’s safe for them to return to school, their sport and other regular activities.

You should also keep your child out of their sport until their concussion heals, which takes time. Your child shouldn’t return to their sport until their doctor says it’s ok. If they return to their sport too soon while their brain is still healing, they’re at a greater risk of having a second and more serious concussion. Repeat or later concussions can cause permanent brain damage.

You should also make sure your child’s coach knows about any previous concussions.

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