Concussions

A concussion is a brain injury.

Concussions are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung” or what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious. You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of a concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.

Signs and symptoms of a concussion

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction
  • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can’t recall events after hit or fall

Symptoms reported by athletes

  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Does not “feel right”

What to do if you think your child has a concussion

  1. Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to sports.
  2. Keep your child out of play. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your child return to play until a health care professional says it’s OK. Children who return to play too soon – while the brain is still healing – risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Repeat or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage,affecting your child for a lifetime.
  3. Tell your child’s coach about any recent concussion. Coaches should know if your child had a recent concussion. Your child’s coach may not know about a concussion your child received in another sport or activity unless you tell the coach.

Other resources and downloads

Safe Kids USA

Website resources

"Heads up" concussion in youth sports
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"Heads up" online training course for coaches
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Brain Injury Support Groups
South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs

Brain Injury Association of South Carolina