Concussion is the most common head injury in most sports today. Parents and athletes need to understand a concussion is a traumatic brain injury and needs to be taken very seriously, as the injury could have lasting effects if not treated appropriately. Concussions can be caused through direct or indirect trauma, for example a direct blow to the head causing the brain to shift back and forth against the walls on the skull, or an indirect blow from a hard fall backwards.
The most common signs and symptoms of a concussion include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and balance problems. The athlete does not have to lose consciousness in order for a concussion to occur. Symptoms may be immediate or delayed by days or weeks post injury. Athletes who suffer potential brain injury must be evaluated immediately and continue to follow up with doctors throughout recovery.
Rest from activity is important for the athlete to allow the brain to recover. Following clearance by doctor, an athlete should progress through a treatment protocol to ensure safety with return to sport. If symptoms continue for 2-3 weeks post injury, the athlete should follow up with a neurologist.