Home > Dementia risk, Head injury, Prevention, Safety > Signs and Symptoms of Concussion

Signs and Symptoms of Concussion

Those who have been following my writings for a while have probably noted that one of my pet gripes, if you will, is concussions in athletes — especially in children.  There is an increasing amount of information out there having to do with the effects of brain injury and dementia in professional football players and other athletes.  Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is one of those rare forms of dementia which we know how to prevent, and thankfully strides are being taken towards that end.

I found a fact sheet put out by the Center for Disease Control in the U.S. on concussions in football (the American variety), and I wanted to share some of that information here.  (I’ll give a link to the entire article at the end of my post.)  The article is directed to coaches and parents of youngsters who play organized sports.

A concussion is defined as a traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, a blow, or a jolt to the head.  They can also result from a blow to the body that causes the brain to rattle around or twist inside the skull.  When this takes place, brain cells are damaged and there are chemical changes that take place within the brain, which makes the brain susceptible to further injury and stress.

Signs of a concussion as observed by a coach or another person on the sidelines:

1.  Appears gazed or stunned (glassy eyes)

2.  Is confused about assignment or position

3.  Forgets an instruction or play

4.  Is unsure of score or opponent

5.  Moves clumsily or has poor balance

6.  Answers questions slowly

7.  Loses consciousness, even briefly

8.  Shows mood, personality, or behavioral changes

9.  Can’t recall events prior to or after hit or fall

Symptoms of concussion reported by athlete:

1.  Headache or “pressure” in head

2.  Nausea or vomiting

3.  Balance problems or dizziness

4.  Double or blurry vision

5.  Sensitivity to light or noise

6.  Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy

7.  Concentration or memory problems

8.  Confusion

9.  Doesn’t “feel right” or feels “down”

On a few occasions, a concussion can actually lead to the formation of a blood clot in the brain which is a potentially life-threatening development.  The athlete should be rushed to the nearest hospital as soon as possible for evaluation by a physician.  Signs of such an occurrence include:

1.  Has one pupil larger than the other

2.  Is drowsy or cannot be awakened

3.  Has a headache that gets worse

4.  Has weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination

5.  Has repeated vomiting or nausea

6.  Has slurred speech

7.  Has convulsions or seizures

8.  Cannot recognize familiar people or places

9.  Becomes increasingly confused, restless, or agitated

10.  Has unusual behavior

11.  Loses consciousness (even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously)

There is more useful information presented in the original article.  I would recommend anyone who plays amateur sports, especially contact sports, or parents of children who do, to pay attention to what is said here.

Original article

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