What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild, traumatic brain injury that:
- Is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head.
- Can change the way your brain normally works.
- Can range from mild to severe.
- Can occur during practices or games in any sport.
- Can happen even if you haven't been knocked out.
- Can be serious even if you've just been "dinged" or had your "bell rung."
How can I prevent a concussion?
It's different for every sport. But there are steps that can be taken to protect yourself from concussion.
- Follow your coach's rules for safety and the rules of the sports.
- Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
- Use the proper sports equipment, including personal protective equipment (such as helmets).
- In order for equipment to protect you, it must be:
- Appropriate for the game, position, and activity
- Well maintained
- Properly fitted
- Used every time you play
How do I know if I've had a concussion?
You can't 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's best to see a health care professional if you think you might have a concussion. An undiagnosed concussion can affect your ability to do schoolwork and other everyday activities. It also raises your risk for additional, serious injury.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
Symptoms of a concussion may be present immediately or may be delayed.
- Nausea (feeling that you might vomit)
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish
- Feeling foggy or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems (forgetting game plays)
What should I do if I think I have a concussion?
- Tell your coaches and your parents. Never ignore a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Also, tell your coach if one of your teammates might have a concussion.
- Get a medical check up. A health care professional can tell you if you have had a concussion and when you are OK to return to play.
- Give yourself time to recover. If you have had a concussion, your brain needs time to heal. While your brain is still healing, you are much more likely to have a second concussion. Second or later concussions can cause permanent brain damage, and even death in rare cases. Severe brain injury can change your whole life.