Concussion Fact Sheet for Parents

football helmetA 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 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 & Symptoms

baseball helmetIf your child has experienced a bump or blow to the head during a game or practice, look for any of the following signs and symptoms of a concussion:

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes 

If your child reports any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away:

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

Preventing a Concussion or Other Brain Injury

bike helmetWearing a helmet is a must to reduce the risk of a serious brain injury or skull fracture. However, there is no “concussion-proof” helmet. So, even with a helmet, it is important for kids and teens to avoid hits to the head. Here are some other sports safety tips to help protect your young athlete:

  • Ensure that they follow their coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
  • Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
  • Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity.
  • Make sure that protective equipment fits properly and is well maintained.

What to Do

If you think your child has a concussion:

1. Seek medical attention right away. A healthcare 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.

2. Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your child return to play the day of the injury. Wait until a healthcare professional says it’s safe. Children who return to play too soon— while the brain is still healing— risk a greater chance of having a repeat concussion, which can be very serious and cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime.

3. Tell your 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.

Although your child may complain about any restrictions, it’s better to miss one game than the whole season!

  • Last updated: 06/24/2013
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