National Concussion Awareness Day is September 17. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
To a teen athlete, the health risk of a concussion can seem small compared to their powerful desire to stay in the game and help their teammates. That’s one reason adults on the sidelines have a critical role in assessing athletes for symptoms of concussions.
“Concussions can range from mild to severe, and while the symptoms are not always obvious even a mild concussion is a brain injury, and we have to take that seriously,” says Tiffany Oglageo, program manager for Advent Health Sports Concussion Program. An estimated 2.5 million high school students report having a concussion each year. There are significantly higher risks among students who play multiple sports.
What Concussion Looks Like
A concussion occurs when the brain bounces around in the skull, often after a fall or hit to the head. There are two ways to think about concussion symptoms in youth athletes: how they act and how they describe their symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, parents can observe some of the following signs of a concussion in a youth athlete:
- Changes in mood, personality or behavior
- Forgetful about what happened just before or after the injury
- Acting stunned, dazed, confused or forgetful, such as about their position or the game
- Slow to answer questions or move clumsily
- Losing consciousness, even briefly
The players themselves often describe their symptoms in the following ways:
- Balance problems
- Bothered by light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, foggy, hazy or groggy
- Headache or “pressure” in the head
- Confusion, memory or concentration problems
These symptoms usually show up right after a hit, but it can take hours or days to notice something isn’t right, says Oglageo. Even if you’re not sure a concussion happened, children should not return to their game until they’ve been evaluated by a medical professional.
At the AdventHealth Sports Concussion Program, we know about the many physical, social and emotional benefits of youth sports. That’s why we work with individual children and families to develop treatments that work for them – and get them back on the field.
To schedule an appointment at the Sports Concussion Program, visit our website at AdventHealthMedicalGroup.com/concussion or call 407-303-6136.