Concussion Detection for Youth Athletes
Concussion rates in US high school athletes have doubled in the past 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. When an athlete experiences a concussion, his or her brain needs time to heal. Devastating injuries can occur if a concussed athlete continues to play.
What are the Symptoms?Signs of a concussion usually appear soon after the injury, but in some cases it may take a couple hours before symptoms present themselves. Symptoms may include:
- Headache or pressure in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Confusion or concentration issues
- An inability to recall events before/after the hit or fall
- Slurred speech or delayed response to questions
- Loss of consciousness
- Change in behavior or personality.
What Should You Do if you Suspect a Concussion?Follow these steps any time an athlete hits his or her head, no matter how trivial the injury may seem.
- Take the athlete out of the game.
The sooner you get an athlete out of the game, the sooner they can get back to a healthy state. Check for signs and symptoms of a concussion. When in doubt, sit them out.
- Have the athlete evaluated by a health care professional.
Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. Take note of the cause of the injury, if there was loss of consciousness and for how long, if there was memory loss or seizures, and if there are any known previous concussions. This information can be helpful to medical professionals.
- Inform the athlete’s parents.
Let them know that you suspect a possible concussion. Hand them a fact sheet with information on symptoms and how long to monitor the athlete.
- Keep the athlete out of the game.
Even if the athlete is a key member of the team, it’s important that he or she is removed from play until a health care professional approves their return.