A concussion is a brain injury. It can happen when the head hits an object, or a moving object hits the head. A concussion can result from a fall, sports activities, or an accident. When someone has a concussion, the brain briefly stops working normally. Symptoms may include:
- Lack of coordination
- Memory loss
- Ear ringing
- Extreme fatigue
If school staff believe your child may have suffered a concussion, they will:
- Immediately remove your child from physical activity
- Watch your child until a medical provider can evaluate them
If a staff member is unsure if your child had a concussion, the school will err on the side of caution. To be safe, we will assume your child has had a concussion until a medical provider proves otherwise.
Your child may return to athletic activities after 24 hours have passed without symptoms. Have your child assessed by a medical provider. Ask the medical provider to provide written, signed permission for the student’s return to activity.
Adapted from materials developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Concussion in Youth Sports: A fact Sheet for Parents.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.
What are the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
Signs Observed by Parents or Guardians
If your child has experienced a bump or blow to the head during a game or practice, look for any of the following signs and symptoms of a concussion:
- 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
Symptoms Reported by Athlete
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to noise
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Just “not feeling right” or “feeling down”
How can you help your child prevent a concussion or other serious brain Injury?
- Ensure that they follow their coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
- Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
- Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity. Protective equipment should fit properly and be well maintained.
- Wearing a helmet is a must to reduce the risk of a serious brain injury or skull fracture.
- However, helmets are not designed to prevent concussions. There is no “concussion-proof” helmet. So, even with a helmet, it is important for kids and teens to avoid hits to the head.
What should you do if you think your child has a concussion?
1. Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to regular activities, including sports.
2. Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your child return to play the day of the injury and until a health care professional says it’s okay. Children who return to play too soon-while the brain is still healing-risk a greater chance of having a repeat concussion. Repeat or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime.
3. Tell your child’s coach about any previous concussion. Coaches should know if your child had a previous concussion. Your child’s coach may not know about a concussion your child received in another sport or activity unless you tell the coach.
Remember, it’s better to miss one game than the whole season. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Heads Up page.