A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury — or TBI — caused by a bump, blow, jolt to the head or hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. This fast movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging the brain cells.
Sports are a great way for children and teens to stay healthy and can help them do well in school. To help lower your children’s or teens’ chances of getting a concussion or other serious brain injury, you should:
- Help create a culture of safety for the team by working with the coach to teach ways to lower the chances of getting a concussion.
- Emphasize the importance of reporting concussions and taking time to recover from one.
- When appropriate, teach your child that they must wear a helmet to lower the chances of brain or head injury. There is no “concussion-proof” helmet. Even with a helmet, it is important for children and teens to avoid hits to the head.
How to Spot a Possible Concussion
Signs observed by parents:
- Appears dazed or stunned.
- Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
- Moves clumsily.
- Answers questions slowly.
- Loses consciousness (even briefly).
- Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
- Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
Symptoms reported by children and teens:
- Headache or “pressure” in head.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
- Bothered by light or noise.
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy.
- Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
- Just not feeling "right,” or feeling "down."