What is a Concussion?

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What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury that is caused by a sudden blow to the head or to the body. The blow shakes the brain inside the skull, which temporarily prevents the brain from working normally.

What causes a Concussion?

Your brain is a soft organ that is surrounded by spinal fluid and protected by your hard skull. Normally, the fluid around your brain acts like a cushion that keeps your brain from banging into your skull. But if your head or your body is hit unexpectedly hard, your brain can suddenly crash into your skull and temporarily stop working normally.

What should a coach do if a concussion is suspected?

-- Remove the athlete from play.
-- Ensure the athlete is evaluated immediately by an appropriate health care professional.
-- Inform the athlete’s parents/guardians of the possible concussion.
-- Allow the athlete to return to play only after an appropriate health care professional clears his or her return.

Protection Comes First

Teach athletes proper playing techniques and good sportsmanship. Explain that it is not “courageous” nor does it show strength to play with a concussion. Keep athletes with known or suspected concussions off the field until an appropriate health care professional clears them to return. Returning to play must be a medical decision.

Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion

Physical

Headache
Nausea
Vomiting
Balance Problems
Dizziness
Visual Problems
Fatigue
Sensitivity to light
Sensitivity to noise
Numbness/Tingling
Dazed or Stunned

Cognitive

Feeling mentally “foggy”
Feeling slowed down
Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty remembering
Forgetful of recent information or conversations
Confused about recent events
Answers questions slowly

Emotional

Irritability
Sadness
More emotional
Nervousness

Sleep

Drowsiness
Sleeping less than usual
Sleeping more than usual
Trouble falling asleep

Educate

Talk with athletes and parents about preventative measures, symptoms and proper action to take relative to concussions.

Safety Comes First

Teach athletes safe playing techniques and good sportsmanship. Explain that it is not “courageous” nor does it show strength to play with a concussion. “When in doubt, sit them out.”

Keep athletes with known or suspected concussions off the field until an appropriate health care professional clears them to return. Returning to play must be a medical decision.

Proper Equipment Fitting

Proper sizing and fit is essential to minimizing the risk of a concussion. Learn to find the right size and fit.

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