Athlete Concussion Care

A concussion is an injury to the brain that can be caused by a blow to the head, a hard hit to the body or whiplash type event. Most concussions do not result in a loss of consciousness, and even a concussion without a loss of consciousness can be a serious injury. A concussion is commonly referred to as a "brain bruise", however; this is not accurate. A concussion is a total change in the way the brain works.

When you have a concussion, your brain needs time to heal. The brain does not function normally following a concussion until it has completely recovered. Your brain is more susceptible to further injury during the recovery period. Post concussive syndrome can worsen and will typically occur in its most severe form after a series of concussions (second impact syndrome), due to early return to sports, which deprive the brain of a chance to heal before the next injury occurs.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of a concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury.

Signs for parents to watch for

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignments
  • Forgets instructions
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
  • Can't recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can't recall events after hit or fall

Symptoms reported by injured athletes

  • Headache or "pressure in head"
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance and vision problems or dizziness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Just not "feeling right" or "feeling down"

Post concussive syndrome

  • Impulsive behavior
  • Easy frustration
  • Impaired social judgment
  • Unpleasant personality changes
  • Loss of Job
  • Loss of ability to perform in school

St. Mary's Sports Concussion Alliance

Through the first partnership of its kind in the Tri-State area, we have joined Tri-State Orthopaedics and ProRehab to form St. Mary's Sports Concussion Alliance. The Sports Concussion Alliance, using the Tri-State's most experienced Sports Medicine providers, was established to educate administrators, athletic trainers, coaches, parents and student-athletes on the importance of identifying the signs of concussion, seeking immediate proper medical treatment, and using standard guidelines to return the athlete to play.

Resources

If you suspect your athlete has a concussion, call the St. Mary's Sports Concussion Alliance at 812.403.DING.

Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Refrain from any activity until a health care professional, experienced in evaluating for concussion, says that you are symptom-free and it is okay to return to play.

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