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A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Even what seems to be a mild blow to the head can be serious.

Warning Signs

What are some warning signs of a concussion? — For Immediate Attention Call 911

Signs Observed by a Parent/Guardian

  • Appears dazed or stunned

  • Is confused about assignment or position

  • Forgets sports plays

  • 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

Signs Reported by the Athlete

  • Headache or “pressure” in the head

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Balance problems or dizziness

  • Double or blurry vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Sensitivity to noise

  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, or groggy

  • Concentration or memory problems

  • Confusion

  • Does not "feel right"

What should you do if you think a concussion has occurred?

  • Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe to return to play.

  • Keep your child out of play until medically cleared. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your child return to play until a health care professional says it’s okay. 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.

  • Inform all coaches about any recent concussions. Coaches should know if your child has had a recent concussion. Your child’s coach may not know about a concussion your child received in another sport or activity unless you tell them.

  • Help your child return to sports safely after a concussion. As your child’s symptoms decrease, the extra help or support can be removed gradually. Children and teens who return to activities after a concussion may need to:

    • Take rest breaks as needed;

    • Spend fewer hours at activities; and

    • If in doubt, sit it out!

More Information

For more information on Concussions: MedStar Health.

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