A concussion is a mild brain injury that causes a change in mental status that can occur with direct insult to the head. A concussion may also occur with movement of the body that cause acceleration/deceleration forces to the head.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Difficulty balancing
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Ringing in the ears
- A healthcare provider should evaluate every child or adolescent suspected of a concussion.
- If this occurs during a sporting event, the child should sit out the rest of the game
- Your provider may conduct a standardized neuropsych assessment to help guide return to activities/sports
- Rest, rest and more rest!
- Absence from school may initially be necessary until one can concentrate on a task without exacerbating symptoms
- Avoid excessive time texting, on the computer, watching television, playing video games or listening to loud music
- Return to activity too soon can lead to worsening and prolonged symptoms. A second injury to the brain while the brain is healing can lead to severe brain injury that is life-threatening
A person with a concussion should not return to play until they no longer have symptoms at rest for at least 24 hours. Return to play should then be a step-wise progression. The child/adolescent should be symptom free for 24 hours before progressing to the next level of play:
- Light aerobic exercise (e.g.: walking)
- Sport-specific exercise
- Non-contact training drills
- Full contact practice
- Return to play (Must first be cleared by a provider)
Swedish’s Spine, Sports and Musculoskeletal Medicine team has developed a Sports Concussion Clinic with the following resources:
- Baseline neurocognitive testing with a computerized exam called ImPACT can be done prior to playing a sport to assess changes and recovery if a concussion occurs.
- Comprehensive concussion management, including clearance for return-to-play