The definition of a concussion continues to evolve as more knowledge is gained. A "concussion" is a brain injury and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional that has been trained in evaluation and treatment. It is a complex process affecting the brain due to direct or indirect forces to the head. The disturbance of brain function occurs from changes in the metabolic/chemical processes of the brain rather than a structural injury such as a “bruise”. Even a “ding”, or “getting your bell rung” can appear mild but can be serious.

EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS:

  • Changes in Personality
  • Mood Swings
  • Emotion not matching situations
  • Sleep Changes (Too Much or Too Little)




DANGER SIGNS:

  • One Pupil is Larger than the Othe
  • Athlete is Drowsy or cannot be awakened
  • A Headache that does not Diminish, or worsens
  • Weakness, Numbness, or Decreased Coordination
  • Repeated Vomiting or Nausea

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PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormality with Balance or Walking
  • Vision Issues (Blurred, Double, or Light Sensitivity
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Persistent Ringing in Ears
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Noise Sensitivity


COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS:

  • Feeling Foggy, Off, Slow or out of it
  • Feeling Down
  • Difficulty Concentrating or Following Directions
  • Amnesia



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CONCUSSIONS

CONCUSSION - TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY INFORMATION

Seek Healthcare Provider when Suspecting of a Head Injury!!!
(This may be a MD, DO, PA, FNP, or ATC in Pittsylvania County, VA)

WHAT IS THE INITIAL TREATMENT AT HOME?   
Important ideas to follow:

  • Keep your child in a Quiet, Dark or Dimly Lit Room
  • Do Not Allow Reading or use of TV, Computer, Video Games, Cell Phones, or Radios
  • Keep a close eye on your child for the first two hours at home, then every couple of hours through the remainder of the evening and night.
  • During sleep, observe breathing and look for unusual restlessness or movement patterns. Only give acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headache or other pain. Do not give medication for nausea or additional pain medication of any kind.


WHEN DO I TAKE MY CHILD TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM (ER)? 
You will need to visit the closest ER room if the symptoms are worsening, the headache can’t be controlled with acetaminophen, there is recurring vomiting and speech difficulty arises. Also, look for unusual eye movements, increasing confusion, balance issues or shaking, like with a seizure. Don’t forget, you can also call 911 if you are unable to travel to the ER yourself. 

SHOULD I BE EVALUATED BY A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER? 

There should be a follow-up with the athletic trainer or team physician the next day after the athlete has awakened and you have seen and spoken with them. If symptoms other than a headache persist the following day, then the athlete should be evaluated by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner that day. 

WHAT IS POST CONCUSSION SYNDROME (PCS)?
Post-Concussion Syndrome, or PCS, is the persistence of concussion symptoms for greater than six weeks post-injury. The majority of concussion symptoms will resolve within about two weeks, and with proper recovery almost all dissipate within a month. In cases where symptoms linger past six weeks, doctors may diagnose Post-Concussion Syndrome.


WHAT IS SECOND IMPACT SYNDROME?
Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) refers to the catastrophic events which may occur when a second concussion occurs while the athlete is still symptomatic and healing from a previous concussion. Even if SIS is not an established problem, there is NO debate that repeat concussions significantly worsen long-term outcomes. After athletes sustain one concussion, they are three times more likely to sustain a second concussion compared to other players who have not been concussed. Repeat concussions, even when mild, can increase the risk of post-concussive symptoms (PCS) such as headaches, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, etc. Chances of PCS are even more increased if the second injury occurs too soon, before recovery from the first has taken place. The higher the rate of concussions, the higher the risk of long-term cognitive dysfunction. The condition is often fatal, and almost everyone who is not killed is severely disabled.


WHAT IS THE RETURN TO PLAY PROTOCOL?
Any Athlete that has been diagnosed with a Head Injury must have a certified healthcare provider to sign off on the athlete's participation for High School Athletics. The protocol consist of a graded return to activity that slowly progresses athletes back to full participation.  

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