Concussion Facts What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild, traumatic brain injury that:
Is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head.
Can change the way your brain normally works.
Can range from mild to severe.
Can occur during practices or games in any sport.
Can happen even if you haven't been knocked out.
Can be serious even if you've just been "dinged" or had your "bell rung."
How can I prevent a concussion?
It's different for every sport. But there are steps that can be taken to protect you from concussion.
Follow your coach's rules for safety and the rules of the sports.
Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
Use the proper sports equipment, including personal protective equipment (such as helmets).
In order for equipment to protect you, it must be:
Appropriate for the game, position, and activity
Used every time you play
How do I know if I've had a concussion?
You can't see a concussion, but you might notice some of the symptoms right away. Other symptoms can show up days or weeks after the injury. It's best to see a health care professional if you think you might have a concussion. An undiagnosed concussion can affect your ability to do schoolwork and other everyday activities. It also raises your risk for additional, serious injury.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
Symptoms of a concussion may be present immediately or may be delayed.
Nausea (feeling that you might vomit)
Balance problems or dizziness
Double or fuzzy vision
Sensitivity to light or noise
Feeling foggy or groggy
Concentration or memory problems (forgetting game plays)
What should I do if I think I have a concussion?
Tell your coaches and your parents. Never ignore a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Also, tell your coach if one of your teammates might have a concussion.
Get a medical checkup. A health care professional can tell you if you have had a concussion and when you are OK to return to play.
Give yourself time to recover. If you have had a concussion, your brain needs time to heal. While your brain is still healing, you are much more likely to have a second concussion. Second or later concussions can cause permanent brain damage, and even death in rare cases. Severe brain injury can change your whole life.
For more information on concussions, and to take the CDC's training course, Heads Up, visit