What is a concussion?
From the CDC: "A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells." What is a Concussion, Center's for Disease Control, 2023
Signs and Symptoms
|Concussion Signs Observed
|Concussion Signs Reported
|Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
|Headache or “pressure” in head.
|Appears dazed or stunned.
|Nausea or vomiting.
Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
|Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
|Bothered by light or noise.
|Answers questions slowly.
|Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
|Loses consciousness (even briefly).
|Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
|Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
|Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.
If you/your child show any of the following, you should seek immediate emergency medical care:
Dangerous Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion
- One pupil larger than the other.
- Drowsiness or inability to wake up.
- A headache that gets worse and does not go away.
- Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination.
- Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures (shaking or twitching).
- Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
- Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.
After the initial injury
Every concussion is unique, and a history of concussion cannot predict how you/your child will respond during a new injury. Each concussion is evaluated and treated through a multi-disciplinary approach. The student-athlete, parents, coaches, teachers, overseeing medical practitioners, and school medical personnel will work in conjunction to ensure the best outcomes.
What can I expect?
A period of rest the first 48-72 hours is typically recommended to allow initial symptoms to begin to resolve. Limiting screen time, cognitive work, and any physical exertion is important during this phase. The brain and body have begun the healing process, and are devoting significant energy to healing. Adding on additional energy demands in the form of cognitive or physical activity can delay recovery.
Once symptoms begin to resolve, the student-athlete will work in conjunction with the Athletic Trainer (and other medical professionals as warranted) to move through the return-to-learn and return-to-play protocols. The student-athlete should communicate daily with the Athletic Trainer until the concussion has resolved, and they are back to full academics/athletic activity.
What should I do?
In the days following the injury, listen to your body (and any healthcare professionals), and do not strain yourself to the point of increasing symptoms. An appointment should be made with your primary care physician for further evaluation. The PCP will be involved in the final clearance for return to both academics and athletics.
The Athletic Trainer will send a Google Sheet via email (found here) that should be filled out daily. This will help track symptoms, return to academics, and return to athletics.
Want to learn more?
The CDC, NFHS, and MIAA provide excellent resources for concussions. The information can be found below.