A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly from one side to another.
Children can experience a concussion during any sport or recreational activity, so it’s important for coaches to be trained in recognizing and treating concussions. Parents and young athletes also need to be aware of the signs of concussions and know what to do if they suspect a concussion has occurred. Any change in a child’s physical functioning, behavior, or thinking can be a warning sign of a concussion.
Many people think that loss of consciousness is the primary symptom of a concussion, but fewer than 10 percent of people with concussions lose consciousness. The most common immediate symptoms are confusion, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, vision changes, and ringing in the ears (one or more of these symptoms may appear).
Lasting symptoms include personality changes, irritability, fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory loss, and poor concentration.
Some concussion symptoms are serious enough to warrant calling an ambulance or going immediately to the emergency room. These include convulsions, seizures, slurred speech, increasing confusion, or having one pupil of the eye larger than the other. Being unable to awaken someone with a suspected concussion is another reason to take immediate action.
A child who shows any of the signs or symptoms of a concussion should be prohibited from further play and be examined by a health care professional.
According to the CDC, most people have a quick and full recovery from a concussion, but the symptoms for some people can last for days, weeks, or even longer.