Concussion can affect athletes at all levels of sport from junior participants to recreational athletes and elite and professional athletes.
There is growing concern in Australia and internationally about sport-related concussion and its potential health effects.
If managed appropriately, most symptoms of concussion resolve quickly. However, without proper management, complications can occur including prolonged symptoms and increased chance of further injury.
Concussion is a brain injury that interferes with normal brain function. Concussion is caused by a knock to the head or body where force is transmitted to the head. A person can be concussed with or without loss of consciousness. All concussions are serious.
Signs and symptoms of concussion vary, may be difficult to detect and can occur immediately or develop over the hours or days after the injury.
Loss of consciousness
Nausea or vomiting
Increasing confusion, agitation or irritability
No protective action in a fall to the ground
Headache or feeling of pressure in the head
Jerky movements/seizure after a knock
Feeling slowed down or in a fog
Seizure or convulsion
Weakness or tingling/burning in the arms or legs
Unsteady on feet or balance problems
Sensitivity to light and/or noise
Deteriorating conscious state
Severe or increasing headache
Dazed or looking blank/vacant
Difficulty concentrating or remembering
Unusual behavioural change
Cannot recognise people or places
One pupil larger than the other
Trouble falling asleep
Seek medical attention straight away.
A health professional will assess how serious the concussion is and when it is safe for your child to return to regular activities, including sports.
Keep your child out of play.
Concussions take time to heal.
Don’t let your child return to play the day of the injury and until a health professional say’s it’s okay.
Children who return to play too early risk a greater chance of having a second concussion.
Repeat or later concussions can be very serious and can possibly cause permanent brain damage.
Allow time for physical and mental rest.
The brain needs time to recover from concussion.
To properly rest the child may need time off from school , sport and other extra-curricular activities.
Mental rest may include avoiding computer games, reading and watching television.
Tell your child’s coach about any previous concussions.
Coaches should know if your child has had a previous concussion.
Your child’s coach may not know about a concussion received in another sport or activity unless you tell them.
Children who are returning to school, sport or other activity after a concussion may need to:
- Take regular rest breaks
- Spend less time at the activity
- Be given more time to complete tasks
- Receive additional coaching or assistance
- Reduce time spent reading, writing or on screens
Talk with your child’s coach/teacher or activity coordinator about your child’s concussion and symptoms. As your child’s symptoms reduce, the extra help or support may no longer be needed.