Concussion in Youth Sports

HEADS UP:  CONCUSSION IN YOUTH SPORTS FOR BELLARMINE PARENTS

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WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?

A concussion is a brain injury and all brain injuries are serious. They are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or by a blow to another part of the body with the force transmitted to the head. They can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. Even though most concussions are mild, all concussions are potentially serious and may result in complications including prolonged brain damage and death if not recognized and managed properly. In other words, even a "ding" or a bump on the head can be serious. You can't see a concussion and most sports concussions occur without loss of consciousness. Signs and symptoms of concussion may show up right after the injury or can take hours or days to fully appear. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms or signs of concussion yourself, seek medical attention right away.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A CONCUSSION?

Signs Observed by Parents or Guardians

If your child has experienced a bump or blow to the head during a game or practice, look for any of the following signs and symptoms of a concussion:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can't recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can't recall events after hit or fall

Symptoms Reported by Athletes

  • Headache or "pressure" in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Does not "feel right"


WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK YOUR CHILD HAS A CONCUSSION?

1. Seek medical attention right away to determine the severity of the concussion. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports.

2. Inform the Bellarmine athletic training staff (email: garciat@bellarmineprep.org or cell: 253-209-5940) as well as the athlete's coach as soon as possible. This is critical even if your child suffered a concussion at a non-Bellarmine activity.

3. Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Children who return to play too soon--while the brain is still healing--risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Second or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime. A youth athlete who has been removed from play may not return to play until he/she is evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion and receives written clearance to return to play from that health care provider.

HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR CHILD PREVENT A CONCUSSION?

Every sport is different, but there are steps your children can take to protect themselves from concussion.

1. Ensure that they follow their coach's rules for safety and the specific rules of each sport.

2. Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.

3. Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity (such as helmets, padding, shin guards, and eye and mouth guards). Protective equipment should fit properly, be well maintained, and be worn consistently and correctly.