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Miriam Akervall
By
June 14, 2016

How To Recognize A Concussion On The Field

How to recognize concussion

A forceful body check that leaves a teammate feeling nauseous and dizzy long after the match ends.

The friend so proud of her resilience despite several head injuries that has trouble concentrating and remembering small details.

Whether it’s on a field, rink or court, these are frighteningly common scenarios athletes know all too well. With symptoms so similar to minor discomforts, concussions are rampant and recurring among athletes of all ages.  

A form of traumatic brain injury (or TBI), concussions are one of the leading causes of death in cases of severe injury at a rate of about 1 in 3, and can leave survivors with health issues that last the rest of their lives.

Between 2001 and 2009, diagnosed concussions in sports related incidents rose by 57% among children age 19 and younger, culminating in nearly 250,000 cases of concussions or TBI’s within that age group in 2009.

Although there are some interesting schools of thought on how to reduce the frequency of concussions in sports, identifying a concussion when it occurs is crucial to getting treatment before the symptoms worsen.

Whether you’re a coach, teammate or parent, knowing the signs of a concussion can help keep your athletes safe from preventable injuries.

Concussion Symptoms in Adults and Teens

  • Headache that worsens
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Issues with coordination
  • Slurred speech

What to Do

  • Remove the player from the sport immediately
  • Contact a health professional
  • Ensure the player gets plenty of rest
  • Avoid activity that could result in another concussion
  • Avoid alcohol and drug consumption as it may slow recovery
  • practice writing things down to remember them
  • If experiencing trouble focusing, avoid trying to multitask

When to Hospitalize a Concussion

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Trouble recognizing people or places
  • Confusion, restlessness, agitation
  • Unusual behavior
  • Loss of consciousness

Concussion Symptoms in Children

  • Cannot stop crying or extremely emotionally distress
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Trouble recognizing people or places
  • Confusion, restlessness, agitation
  • Unusual behavior
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache that worsens
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Issues with coordination
  • Slurred speech

What to Do

  • Always take a child to the hospital immediately following an injury to the head
  • The same recovery strategies apply here as to adults, rest being the most important
  • Notify babysitters and teachers about the child’s condition to help avoid risky activities and monitor recovery

Following a concussion, one of the best way prevent another one by removing the athletes from play until they are fully recovered. Enduring multiple concussions before giving the brain time to heal can, in extreme cases, cause brain swelling, brain damage or even death in small children.

In some cases, having multiple concussions even after recovery periods can have long-term health repercussions such as trouble with focusing, memory, headaches and motor skills like keeping your balance.

Keep in mind, these symptoms can apply outside of athletic situations. Falls account for40.5% of TBI cases in children aged 0 to 14 and older populations 65 years old and over. 

Knowing what signs to look for can make all the difference in preventing long term effectsStay alert and contact a health professional when in doubt!

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