P
U
S
D
A
HE USSION
CONC
IN HIGH SCHOOL
SPORTS
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. Concussions
are caused by a bump or blow to the head. Even a “ding,”
“getting your bell rung,” or what seems to be a mild bump
or blow to the head can be serious.
You can’t see a concussion. Signs and symptoms of concussion
can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be
noticed until days or weeks after the injury. If your child
reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the
symptoms yourself, seek medical attention right away.
What are the signs and symptoms of a
concussion?
If your child has experienced a bump or blow to the head
during a game or practice, look for any of the following
signs of a concussion:
SYMPTOMS REPORTED
BY ATHLETE
SIGNS OBSERVED BY
PARENTS/GUARDIANS
• Headache or
“pressure” in head
• Nausea or vomiting
• Balance problems or
dizziness
• Double
or blurry
vision
• Sensitivity to light
• Sensitivity to noise
• Feeling sluggish,
hazy, foggy, or
groggy
• Concentration or
memory problems
• Confusion
• Just “not feeling right”
or “feeling down”
• Appears dazed or
stunned
• Is confused about
assignment or
position
• Forgets an
instruction
• Is unsure of game,
score, or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions
slowly
• Loses consciousness
(even briefly)
• Shows mood,
behavior, or
personality changes
How can you help your child prevent a
concussion or other serious brain injury?
• Ensure that they follow their coach’s rules for safety and
the rules of the sport.
• Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
• Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for
their activity. Protective equipment should fit properly
and be well maintained.
• Wearing a helmet is a must to reduce the risk of a serious
brain injury or skull fracture.
– However, helmets are not designed to prevent
concussions. There is no “concussion-proof” helmet.
So, even with a helmet, it is important for kids and
teens to avoid hits to the head.
What should you do if you think your child
has a concussion?
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION RIGHT AWAY. A health care
professional will be able to decide 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 care professional says it’s OK. Children who
return to play too soon—while the brain is still healing—
risk a greater chance of having a repeat concussion. Repeat
or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause
permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime.
TELL YOUR CHILD’S COACH ABOUT ANY PREVIOUS
CONCUSSION. Coaches should know if your child had a
previous concussion. Your child’s coach may not know about
a concussion your child received in another sport or activity
unless you tell the coach.
If you think your teen has a concussion:
Don’t assess it yourself. Take him/her out of play.
Seek the advice of a health care professional.
It’s better to miss one game than the whole season.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/Concussion.
April 2013
A FACT SHEET FOR PARENTS