A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even a "ding," “getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.
You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.
Signs and Symptoms
If a child has experienced a bump or blow to the head during a game or practice, look for any of the following signs of a concussion:
Symptoms Reported by Athlete:
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
Just not "feeling right" or is "feeling down"
Signs Observed by Parents, Coaches, or Teammates:
Appears dazed or stunned
Is confused about assignment or position
Forgets an instruction
Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
Answers questions slowly
Loses consciousness (even briefly)
Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
Be alert for symptoms that worsen over time. Your child or teen should be seen in an emergency department right away if s/he has:
One pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
Drowsiness or cannot be awakened A headache that gets worse and does not go away
Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
Repeated vomiting or nausea
Convulsions or seizures
Difficulty recognizing people or places
Increasing confusion, restlessness, or agitation Unusual behavior Loss of consciousness (even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously)
What Should You Do if You Suspect a Concussion?
Seek medical attention right away. 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 regular activities, including sports.
Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your child return to play the day of the injury and until a health care professional says it’s OK. Children who return to play too soon - while the brain is still healing - risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Repeat or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime.
Tell the child’s coach about any previous concussion. Coaches should know if your child had a previous concussion. Your child’s coach may not know about a concussion your child received in another sport or activity unless you tell the coach.