What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that:
- is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body
- can change the way a student’s brain normally works
- can occur during practices, games, contests, and many other extra-curricular activities
- can happen even if a student has not lost consciousness
- can be serious even if a student has just been “dinged” or “had their bell rung”
All concussions are serious. A concussion can affect a student’s ability to do schoolwork and other activities (such as playing video games, working on a computer, studying, driving or exercising). Most students with a concussion get better, but it is important to give the concussed students brain time to heal.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
Concussions cannot be seen; however, in a potentially concussed student, one or more of the symptoms listed below may become apparent and/or that the student “doesn’t feel right” soon after, a few days after, or even weeks after the injury.
What should students do if they are believed that they or someone else may have a concussion?
- Students feeling any of the symptoms set forth above should immediately tell their coach, athletic trainer and/or parents. Also, if they notice any teammate evidencing such symptoms, they should immediately tell their coach and/or athletic trainer.
- The student must be evaluated. A licensed physician of medicine or osteopathic medicine(MD or DO) sufficiently familiar with current concussion management, should examine the student, determine whether the student has a concussion, and determine when the student is cleared to return to participation in interscholastic athletics and/or other extracurricular activities.
- Concussed students should give themselves time to get better. If a student has sustained a concussion, the student’s brain needs time to heal. While a concussed student’s brain is still healing, the student is much more likely to have another concussion. Repeat concussions can increase the time it takes for an already concussed student to recover and may cause more damage to the student’s brain. Such damage can have long term consequences. It is important that a concussed student rest and not return to play until the student receives permission from an MD or DO, sufficiently familiar with current concussion management, that the student is symptom free.
How can students prevent a concussion?
Every sport is different, but there are steps students can take to protect themselves.
- Use of proper sports equipment, including personal protective equipment. For equipment to properly protect a student, it must be:
- The right equipment for the sport, position or activity
- Worn correctly and the correct size and fit
- Used every time the student practices/competes
- Follow the coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
- Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
IF A STUDENT BELIEVES THEY MAY HAVE A CONCUSSION: DON’T HIDE IT. REPORT IT. TAKE TIME TO RECOVER.