If you, your child or your students play a contact sport, there is always the risk of a potential concussion. And let's be real, there's a lot you probably don't know about concussions and how to treat them. So before you cheer your child on from the sidelines or coach the next big game, make sure you are educated about the risk of potential concussion.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. Concussion can also occur when a full body hit causes the head to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain.
There are a lot of false facts about concussions floating around the world of youth sports. Misunderstanding the severity and recovery process of concussions can cause long term damage in young athletes. Having proper knowledge of how to diagnose and treat concussions is important for all parents and coaches.
Look out for our next blog post, where we'll BUST all those pesky myths surrounding concussions.
Parents and Coaches: Take Action!
There are a number of things that you can do immediately if you suspect a young athlete has suffered concussion after a hard blow or major impact.
- After a blow, look for dizziness, confusion, forgetfulness and headache and nausea. If any are present, immediately remove the athlete from play and get them evaluated.
- After any sort of major impact, specifically to the neck, chest or head, an athlete needs to be watched for standard concussion symptoms. The latest research has shown that concussion symptoms may develop over time and must be monitored frequently.
- To prevent long term damage, it's important to immediately seek proper medical treatment and recovery instructions for a concussion.
- Athletes of both genders need to participate in neck strength training and should be encouraged to report injuries to coaches and parents.
- If you suspect a concussion, the child must be assessed by a healthcare professional immediately. Before returning to school or play, a student needs to be cleared by a healthcare professional. Every concussion requires at least 24 hours of recovery time, often longer, to ensure concussion symptoms do not worsen or develop over time.
- Returning to school does not mean an athlete is ready to return to play. The brain can still be susceptible to damage and it's important to avoid a second concussion.
If an athlete is displaying any of the following symptoms, they need to be taken to the ER right away.
- Dazed or stunned
- Clumsy movements
- Slow response to questions
- Loss of consciousness (no matter how brief)
- Behavior changes
- Blurry vision
- Sensitive to light and sound
The Bottom Line
Proper education is incredibly important, as is data of an individual's brain. Schedule a Baseline Assessment for your athlete today and share the data with your doctor and school. Most importantly, discuss the risk of concussion and serious brain injury so that everyone is informed and prepared.