What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury that may be caused by a blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an “impulsive” force transmitted to the head.  Concussions can result from hitting a hard surface such as the ground, ice, or floor, from players colliding with each other or being hit by a piece of equipment such as a bat, stick, or ball.

How Can I Prevent a Concussion?

Do not initiate contact with your head or helmet and avoid striking an opponent in the head.  Undercutting, flying elbows, stepping on a head, checking an unprotected opponent and sticks to the head all cause concussions. Follow all the safety rules for of your sport. Practice good sportsmanship in addition to practicing the skills of your sport.

Recognizing a Possible Concussion

To help recognize a concussion, watch for the following two events among members of your organization during games and practice.

1. A forceful blow to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head; and
2. Any change in the person’s behavior, thinking or physical functioning.

What are some signs and symptoms of a concussion?

You may notice some symptoms right away, however, others may show up hours or days after the injury. Concussion symptoms include:

  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or fuzzy vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Nausea
  • Feeling sluggish, foggy, or groggy
  • Feeling unusually irritable
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Slowed reaction time

Exercise or activities that involve a lot of concentration (studying, working on the computer, or playing video games) may cause some concussion symptoms to reappear or worsen.

What should I do if I think I have a Concussion?

  • Report It! Tell your doctor, club safety officer, coach, or trainer.
  • Protect Yourself! Do not return to participation in the game, practice or other activity with symptoms.
  • Follow Up! A health care professional can tell you if you have had a concussion and when you are cleared to return to play.
  • Take Time to Recover! Your brain needs time to heal. While healing, your brain is much more susceptible to a repeat concussion.  Remind yourself that severe brain injury can change your whole life.

It’s better to miss one game than the whole season. When in doubt, get checked out!

– adapted from www.ncaa.org/health-safety