Concussions in Young Athletes
- Concussions in young athletes, especially repeat concussions, can cause permanent damage to the brain and can even be fatal.
- Playing or practicing with a concussion is dangerous and can lead to a longer recovery and a delay in returning to play.
- Repeat concussions are more likely to occur, if a person has not fully recovered from a previous concussion.
- If a concussion may have occurred, a person should not return to play on the day of the injury and until a healthcare professional says it’s OK to return to play.
Signs and Symptoms
A concussion is a brain injury that can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body. It can happen even if a person hasn’t been knocked out. Symptoms differ with each person and with each injury and may not be noticeable for hours or days. Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty remembering or paying attention
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Feeling sluggish or groggy
- Feeling irritable or more emotional
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Double or blurry vision
- Slower reaction times
- Sleep problems
- Loss of consciousness
During recovery, exercising or activities that require a lot of concentration, such as studying, working on the computer or playing video games, may cause concussion symptoms to reappear or get worse.
Think a Young Person May Have a Concussion?
Ignoring the symptoms and encouraging a young athlete to “tough it out” often makes symptoms worse. Tell a coach, parent or athletic trainer if you suspect someone may have a concussion. Do not pressure them into continuing to practice or play with a possible concussion. It’s better for them to miss one game than the whole season.
Get It Checked Out
Only a healthcare professional can tell if someone has had a concussion and when it’s OK to return to play. Sports have injury timeouts and player substitutions so that athletes can get checked out and the team can perform at its best. The sooner it’s checked out, the sooner the young person may be able to safely return to play.
A concussion can affect the ability to do schoolwork and other activities. Most athletes with a concussion get better and return to sports, but it is important to give the brain time to heal. A repeat concussion that occurs while the brain is still healing can cause long-term problems.
"Preventing and Managing Concussions in Young Athletes" Seminar Presented by Jason Pothast, MD, August 2016
Jason Pothast, MD, presented at our first free seminar for parents and coaches, in partnership with the Olney Boys & Girls Club, to discuss one of the most common and dangerous sports injuries affecting young athletes today - concussions. Topics included: basic facts associated with concussions, common signs and symptoms, and what steps to take if a young athlete may have a concussion.
Miss out on the seminar? View Dr. Pothast's presentation here.
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