Concussion Resources for Athletes
A concussion is a brain injury that happens when you get a “blow to the head”, a “bump on the head”, or a “jolt” to the body that alters the way a person thinks, feels, or behaves. You don’t need to be “knocked out” for a concussion to occur; in fact, most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness (e.g., “blacking out”, “seeing stars”, etc.). If you have had your “bell rung”, it’s likely that you have had a concussion.
Why is it so important?
A concussion can change the way your brain works. This means that it is very important to let your brain heal after you’ve receive a concussion, and to not just push through it and play when your body is not yet ready. Doing so can have negative effects on your performance in sport, school, and life.The human brain is rapidly growing and developing until you’re 25 years old, and because you only have one brain, and it needs to last until you’re older, it’s vital to keep yours as safe as possible during this time.
|Physical Symptoms (Body)||Cognitive Symptoms (Mind)||Emotional Symptoms (Feelings)||Maintenance Symptoms (Energy)|
|Headache||Fogginess||Irritability (Grumpy)||Fatigue (Body is Tired)|
|Nausea||Feeling “Slowed Down”||Sadness||Drowsy (Mind is Tired)|
|Vomiting||Trouble Concentrating||More Emotional than Usual||Sleeping Less than Usual|
|Balance Problems||Troubles with Memory||Nervous or Anxious||Sleeping More than Usual|
|Dizziness||Change in Smell||Trouble Falling or Staying Asleep|
|Sensitivity to Light||Change in Taste||Change in Appetite|
|Sensitivity to Noise||Ringing in the Ear||Change in Energy Levels|
|Numbness or Tingling|
How do I protect myself from a concussion?
Protecting yourself from a concussion might be hard to do. After all, no one ever wants to get a concussion in the first place. However, you can take some precautions.
- Wear the proper protective equipment for your specific sport every time you play. This includes practices as well as games.
- Play by the rules of the sport and if your sport involves hitting, follow proper hitting techniques. Avoid hitting an opponent with your head.
- Practice good sportsmanship. There is no honor in hurting an opponent on purpose.
- Educate yourself on what a concussion is, how it feels, and what to do in case it ever happens to you. Talk to your family doctors, coaches, athletic trainers, parents, and teammates about it. The more you know about concussions, the better prepared you will be if you ever receive one.
- Tell your Coaches and Parents: Never ignore a bump to the head. If you think you might have received a concussion, tell someone. Also, tell your coach if you think any of your teammates might have a concussion but haven’t said anything.
- Get to a Medical Professional: It is important (and part of the law, in some states) to get cleared by a medical professional trained in concussion management before returning to sport after an impact. It is our goal at the Sports Concussion Institute to effectively manage concussions so that you can get back on the field quickly and safely.
- Give yourself Time to Heal: After a concussion, your brain needs time to heal. While it is healing, you are more at risk of getting another concussion, which can prolong your time away from school and/or sports. When you feel symptoms, it’s your brain’s way of telling you to slow down. The more you can rest your brain, the better and faster your recovery will be.
Don’t Hide It. Report It. Take Time to Recover.
It’s Better to Miss One Game than the Whole Season.
- Concussions 101: A Primer for Kids and Parents
- Concussion Animation
- CDC Fact Sheet for Athletes – Coaches
- CDC Fact Sheet for Athletes – High School
- CDC Fact Sheet for Athletes – Middle School
- NCAA Concussion Fact Sheet for Student Athletes
- Punched Out: The Life and Death of A Hockey Enforcer (NY Times)