Concussions affect multiple aspects of brain function, including the way people think, how they process information, how they feel (emotions), and their sleep habits.
Signs to look for include: inability to process information correctly, emotional instability and physical deficits, such as impaired balance or eye tracking.
Athletes who experience a concussion on the field or court may:
Signs of a concussion may include one or more of those listed above.
Symptoms that players may report to their coach include one or more of the following:
Please note that these deficits are relative to an individual’s specific baseline abilities. This is where a coach's knowledge of the athlete is invaluable. When one of your players is not acting or playing like himself or herself, you should always consider the possibility of a concussion.
If a player exhibits any signs of a concussion or has symptoms that raise suspicion of a concussion, your responsibility as a coach and a trusted adult is simple — immediately remove the player from the game or practice. Always have a low threshold for suspicion of a concussion: “When in doubt, sit them out!”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the “Heads Up” 4-step Action Plan for players suspected of having a concussion:
There may be times when a more serious injury occurs and emergency medical services should be activated. Although these situations are rare, it is important to recognize them and know what do to.
If a player with a suspected concussion is not sent for immediate medical attention, he or she should be observed continuously until evaluated by a healthcare professional. Never send a player with a suspected concussion to the bus or to the locker room alone. Any worsening in symptoms or signs may indicate a medical emergency.
Contact your child’s primary care doctor for evaluation.
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