Concussion Facts

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
  • Headache
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Feeling foggy or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems (forgetting game plays)
  • Confusion

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.

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