Proper education on the signs, symptoms, prevention and treatment of concussions is a major health and safety issue with interscholastic athletics. Concussions have the ability to show signs not just right after a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body but days or even weeks after the occurrence. This section of the MPSSAA Health and Safety site is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date resources on concussion management for schools, coaches, parents and student-athletes. Below are resources that can put into place to ensure proper academic and athletic accommodations are made for students recovering from a concussion.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
"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 blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth. Even a "ding," "getting your bell rung," or what seems to be mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity. So, all coaches, parents, and athletes need to learn concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs."
Signs Observed By Parents/Guardians:
- 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 a Student-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, foggy, or groggy.
- Concentration or memory problems.
- 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.
- Do not return to play until medically cleared - Concussions take time to heal. Don't return to play until a health care professional says it's OK. Children who return to play too soon while their 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 the injured student-athlete for a lifetime.
- Inform all coaches about any recent concussions - Coaches should know if an athlete has had a recent concussion. The coach may not know about a concussion in another sport or activity if he or she is not informed by the parent, guardian or athlete.