What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.
Why are Concussions becoming a big deal?
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. Concussions are becoming a big deal as doctors learn more and more about the brain and how concussions can drastically alter a person’s short and long term health if not cared for and treated properly. We need to take steps to minimize the number of concussions, and properly treat them when they do occur, as repeat concussions for young people can result in long term problems that could change their lives forever.
Why should an athlete report their symptoms?
If an athlete has a concussion, his or her brain needs time to heal. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short time period (hours, days, weeks)—can slow recovery or increase the chances for long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in brain swelling or permanent brain damage. It can even be fatal.
PARENTS: WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK YOUR CHILD HAS A CONCUSSION?
If you suspect your child has a concussion, make sure the coach has removed the athlete from play to observe for symptoms. If concussions symptoms are observed and/or reported by the player, do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until a health care professional (experienced in evaluating for concussion) says he or she is symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.
Remember, concussions affect people differently. While most athletes with a concussion recover quickly and fully, some will have symptoms that last for days, or even weeks. A more serious concussion can last for months or longer.
Rest is key to helping an athlete recover from a concussion. Exercising or activities that involve a lot of concentration, such as studying, working on the computer, or playing video games, may cause concussion symptoms to reappear or get worse. After a concussion, returning to sports and school is a gradual process that should be carefully managed and monitored by a health care professional.
Coaches: What should you do if you think a player has a concussion?
Remove player from practice or game
Bottom line: if you suspect a concussion remove the player from the practice or game immediately. Continued activity with a concussion could be fatal. You should never assume full health if any concussion symptoms are being shown. Ignoring symptoms and trying to “tough it out” often makes symptoms worse. Don’t ever pressure a player into continuing to practice or play with a concussion. No win is worth player safety.
Inform players' parents
Once the session or game has finished speaking with or call the player’s parents and notify them of the incident. Instruct them to take the player to get checked out by a doctor and inform them that for the player to return to soccer they will require a ‘return to play’ medical form signed by the doctor.
ASC asks its coaches to use their best judgment in these situations, recognizing that coaches are parent volunteers who, with very limited exception, are not medically trained or certified and may not be able to spot a situation in which a player may have sustained a head or other injury.
PLAYERS: WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE A CONCUSSION?
DON’T HIDE IT. REPORT IT.
Ignoring your symptoms and trying to “tough it out” often makes symptoms worse. Tell your coach, parent, and athletic trainer if you think you or one of your teammates may have a concussion. Don’t let anyone pressure you into continuing to practice or play with a concussion.
GET CHECKED OUT.
Only a health care professional can tell if you have a concussion and when it’s OK to return to play. Sports have injury timeouts and player substitutions so that you can get checked out and the team can perform at its best. The sooner you get checked out, the sooner you may be able to safely return to play. Remember, it’s better to miss one game than the entire season.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BRAIN.
A concussion can affect your ability to do schoolwork and other activities. Most athletes with a concussion get better and return to sports, but it is important to rest and give your brain time to heal. A repeat concussion that occurs while your brain is still healing can cause long-term problems that may change your life forever.