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What is a Concussion? It’s Not Part of the Game

A young athlete never wants to hear the coach say, “sit out,” or “you’re done for today.”

It’s easy for teens to think they are being punished when asked to sit out of a game because of a fall during the last play … a fall that really didn’t seem so bad. But sometimes, it is far from punishment. In fact, sitting out could save your child’s life if you’re dealing with concussions.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a temporary disturbance of brain function, resulting in confusion, amnesia, loss of consciousness, or loss of vision. Other symptoms include headache, dizziness, impaired orientation and difficulty concentrating.

Many coaches, parents, and young players minimize athletic brain injuries. Listen up: It is not a part of the game!

Young athletes should not be encouraged to “be tough” and keep pushing to remain in the game if they have experienced a potential brain trauma.

You should always keep in mind that it is very easy for what appears to be a minor injury, to become a very serious injury if a player returns to the game too soon. After sustaining one brain injury, the risk for a second injury is three times greater, while the risk for a third injury is eight times greater.

Always, always, always, encourage young athletes to speak up.  Don’t be afraid to tell a coach or another adult about an injury during play.

Keep these tips in mind on how to recognize a concussion:

1) If an athlete loses consciousness, the first step is to remove him/her from the game

2) The level of consciousness is the single most important indicator of the severity of a brain injury

a. A mild concussion may not result in any loss of consciousness
b. A moderate concussion may result in loss of consciousness that lasts 5 minutes or less
c. A severe concussion may result in loss of consciousness that lasts 5 minutes or more

3) Test the memory of the injured player. Loss of memory of events just before the injury and just after the injury is a common occurrence. A loss of memory of anything preceding the injury could be a sign of a more serious concussion.

4) Seek professional medical attention.

This article adapted from TeenGrowth.com.

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